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Sufism

SUFISM.

Sufism is the English rendering of the Arabic word tasawwuf, which derives from suf, meaning "wool." Tasawwuf in early Islamic history refers to the attitude of people who used to wear a white woolen garment as a sign of renunciation of worldly possessions. To be properly understood, the emergence of Sufism must be situated in the context of Islamic expansion. During the first and second centuries of Islamic expansion, Muslims conquered vast tracts of land that were part of the Byzantine or Persian Empires. They acquired huge amounts of wealth. Many of them became obsessed with mundane things. At that moment, a few believers, haunted by the Prophet's model of perfection and remembering the description of the hereafter in the Koran and the punishment reserved to those who went astray, did not only content themselves to follow the commandments of God and abandon his prohibitions. They devoted much of their time to praying, fasting, and nightly vigils. These are the first people who practiced what has come to be known as tasawwuf or Sufism. Sufism became one of two dominant paradigms in Islamic theology as to how Muslims might interpret the teachings of the prophet Muhammad.

The other paradigm is based on the premise that the prophet Muhammad was sent to deliver the Koranic message to the whole of humanity. In addition to the Koran, the deeds and sayings of the prophet Muhammad (known as the sunna) would provide guidance to Muslims who lived during his lifetime as well as to subsequent generations of Muslims until the day of the Last Judgment. But, according to this paradigm, no communication with the Prophet was possible after his death. This understanding led to a perspective labeled legalistic, fundamentalist, or scriptural based on the dual premise of the immediate readability of religious texts, which govern their rights and duties, and of the conceptual equality of all Muslims. This perspective also developed an individual approach to salvation.

Conversely, the Sufi paradigm is based on the belief that, after the passing of the prophet Muhammad, communication with his soul remains possible. As Islam spread and Islamic theology became more and more elaborated, Sufis developed very complex sets of doctrines and worldviews, some of which bore a similarity to other forms of mysticism. One of the most fundamental Sufi ideas is that the Koran, in addition to an apparent meaning (Ar., zahir ) that is accessible to all, has a hidden meaning (Ar., batin ). To have access to the latter, one must follow a path (Ar., tariqa ; pl., turuq ) that leads to spiritual fulfillment. This was the justification for the creation of Sufi orders, which quick became and still remain a dominant form of spirituality in the entire Muslim world.

Another fundamental Sufi idea is that there exists a conceptual inequality among believers, some of whom are closer to God by virtue of enjoying a higher rank in His eyes in relation to others. The Arabic word wali, "friend of God," which suggests the idea of proximity and friendship, renders the notion of proximity to God. It occurs several times in the Koran either in the singular (wali ) or in the plural (awliya ) but is interpreted differently within each of the two above-mentioned paradigms. For legalist Muslims, every pious believer is close to God, whereas in the Sufi tradition, the status of wali is accorded exclusively by divine grace to certain individuals. Sufis believe that the awliya have extraordinary powers, because they are close to God. For example, they have the power to secure happiness in this world and in the next for their disciples and their descendants by blessing them. They have retaliatory powers over their enemies, whom they can curse and punish. They have the mystical power to heal the ill, and so on. These desires for happiness and healing constitute the basis of the veneration of Sufi awliya in the Muslim world. Sufis have successfully established themselves as mediators between God and believers throughout the Muslim world.

The commitment to Sufi Islam is marked by a formal introduction in the course of which a disciple is initiated by a master. The master was himself initiated by another master through a chain of initiation (Ar., silsila ) going back to the founder of a Sufi order, who usually claims to have started his order subsequent to prophetic revelation. Once initiated, the disciple is expected to obey the master. Moreover, on his or her way to spiritual fulfillment, the disciple is believed to be in the hands of the master as a cadaver is in the hands of a mortician. In other words, there is an assumed relationship of utter dependence of the disciple on the master.

Islam in Africa was greatly influenced by Sufi ideas and understanding of salvation. The majority of African Muslims practice Sufi Islam. Historically, the two orders of the Tijaniyya and Qadiriyya spread in the whole Islamized part of the African continent during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These orders provided a paradigm of salvation based on the belief that certain persons have supernatural powers. But there are also orders that were founded locally, such as the Muridiyya established by the Senegalese Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba (1853 or 18541927).

The book Rimah hizb al-rahim 'ala nuhur hizb al-rajim (1863), written by 'Umar B. Sa 'id Tall (17971864), is one of the most elaborate expositions of the doctrine of the Tijaniyya Sufi order. It is a good illustration of the special privileges that God bestows on followers of Sufi orders. According to the Rimah, all disciples of the Tijaniyya will be spared from the agonies of death, they will not be persecuted in their graves by angels, and they will be safe from all tortures in the grave from the day of their death until the day they enter Paradise. God will forgive all their sins and they will not have to account at the Day of Judgment. They will be among the first group of believers to enter Paradise together with the prophet Muhammad and his Companions. They will die as awliya (friends of God) because of their love for the founder of the Tijaniyya, Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani (17371815). Finally, because, they are members of the Tijaniyya, not only will they go to Paradise, but members of their family will also go to Paradise.

More than just religious fraternities, Sufi orders have often been vital economic, political, and social organizations that perform many social functions. They are organized around zawiya (lodges), which are centers of religious learning, initiation places for disciples in search of spiritual realization, shelters for fugitives, and locations of saintly shrines where disciples go to seek healing and blessing.

In Africa, there were times when some Sufi sanctuaries were virtual states within states, for example the Senusiyya in Cyrenaica (modern Libya) and the Tijaniyya in Algeria, and the Mourides in Senegal. Since the tenth century, Sufi orders have constantly risen, declined, regenerated, and split. Sufi orders exist in all Muslim countries.

Sufism provides ingredients through which many Muslimseducated and uneducated, "modern" and "traditional," men, women, and childrenunderstand their universe.

See also Asceticism ; Islam ; Mysticism ; Religion .

bibliography

Bousbina, Said. "Les mérites de la Tijaniyya d'après 'Rimah' d'al Hajj Umar." Islam et sociétés au sud du Sahara 3 (1989): 253259. A brief discussion of Tijaniyya doctrines related to salvation as exposed in the Rimah hizb al-rahim of 'Umar Tall.

De Jong, Frederick, and Bernd Radtke, eds. Islamic Mysticism Contested: Thirteen Centuries of Controversies and Polemics. Leiden, Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 1999. The most comprehensive and recent survey of Islamic mysticism and its opponents.

Robinson, David. Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 18801920. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2000. A study of the emerging pattern of cooperation between Muslim societies and French colonial authorities in Senegal and Mauritania.

Robinson, David, and Jean-Louis Triaud, eds. Le temps des marabouts: Itinéraires et stratégies islamiques en Afrique occidentale française v. 18801960. Paris: Karthala, 1997. Rise of Sufi orders in West Africa in the context of French colonial rule.

Triaud, Jean-Louis, and David Robinson, eds. La Tijâniyya. Une confrérie musulmane à la conquête de l'Afrique. Paris: Karthala, 2000. A survey of the most widespread Sufi order in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ousmane Kane

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Sufism

Sufism

Sufis are members of a small Islamic sect that arose as a protest against the growing worldliness of Muslims after the time of the Prophet. Sufis strive to imitate the words and deeds of Muhammad, and traditionally adopt a life of poverty and abstinence. Although Sufism is firmly anchored in orthodox Islamic doctrine, it emphasizes the inner pursuit of love, obedience, and devotion to God over concern with the outward law or shari ʿa, and is often associated with mysticism and esotericism. There are hundreds of Sufi orders that have developed within different cultural contexts so that there is no one Sufi way.

Role of Food in the Sufi Tradition

Sufis are guided by the adab, written treatises that prescribe manners or norms of conduct modeled on the life of Muhammad, which includes the food sayings and practices of the Prophet in minute detail. Muhammad praises the virtues of hospitality, generosity, and moderation, and food was and is clearly seen as a means of encouraging these virtues. As an integral part of the daily spiritual life of Sufis, food provides a way of sharing in the greatest of Divine blessings, of creating unity among people and of linking to all creation. Hospitality and eating together were highly commended by Muhammad and, since early times, Sufis have been associated with the serving of food to others. Communal kitchens and guest lodges for feeding the poor and travelers were features of early Sufi settlements, a tradition that continues in Sahas, or Sufi centers where massive concrete tables may serve up to one hundred diners at a sitting. At moulid festivals, feeding stations are set up to offer food and drink to passers-by.

Food Symbolism and Rituals

There is extensive use of food imagery and metaphor in Sufi writings. Sugar and other sweet foods represent the sweetness of piety and community with God, while salt symbolizes purity and incorruptibility. Bread is regarded as sacred in Islam and is treated reverentially. Through the pronouncement of Bismallah during the bread-making process, the bread is imbued with spiritual power or baraka, which is shared by those who eat the bread. The transformation of the raw wheat to finished bread is used as an analogy for Sufi spiritual development.

Sufi ritual observances (dhikr ) are concerned with remembrance of God through exaltation and praise. Singing, dancing, and drumming are commonly part of such rituals, as is sharing of food. For example, ashura is a dish that takes its name from the festival celebrated by all followers of Islam. During preparation of the ashura, Mevlevi Sufis stir the pot in a special way while pronouncing the name of God. Sharing the ashura then becomes a way of spreading remembrance of God in the form of bodily nourishment.

Holidays and Festivals

Sufis observe general Muslim holidays and festivals. Ashura has particular significance for Sufis and Shiʿa. In addition, they celebrate numerous saints' days, or moulids. Major moulid festivals attract hundreds of thousands of people and can last for two to three weeks. Sufi orders set up hospitality stations (khidamet) in public buildings, in tents, or simply on cloths spread on the ground. Drink and (usually) food are offered to passers-by, and must be accepted as the food contains the baraka of the saint being honored and therefore confers spiritual blessing on the recipient. For the poor, these stations provide an additional opportunity for physical as well as spiritual nourishment.

Fasting and Feasting

Fasting is an essential feature of Sufism, especially during the forty-day retreat undertaken by initiates in many orders. Early Sufis placed great emphasis on asceticism in the pursuit of self-control and suppression of worldly desires. Eating was seen to be an important source of potential harm to the new initiate, and there are many Sufi stories of extreme restraint. Later, excessive fasting came to be viewed as unfavorably as excessive eating, for the message of the adab was one of moderation. Indeed, Muhammad even enjoined His followers to break a fast if invited to eat, for to refuse an invitation to share in God's blessing was wrong.

Food and Social Circumstance: Prescriptions and Proscription

While the asceticism of early Sufism has largely disappeared, gluttony is frowned upon and moderation is enjoined. Sufis follow Qurʾanic injunctions regarding food and are usually fastidious about observing the prohibition on pork consumption. While many Muslims do eat meat other than pork, Sufi teachings recommend that such meat be consumed only in small quantities. Some orders, both ancient and modern, have praised vegetarianism as a more compassionate practice, and have viewed animal consumption as conducive to animalistic behavior.

See also Fasting and Abstinence: Islam; Iran; Islam: Shiʿite Islam; Islam: Sunni Islam; Middle East; Religion and Food.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hoffman, Valerie. "Eating and Fasting for God in the Sufi Tradition." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 62, no. 3 (1995): 465484.

Reynolds, Gabriel Said. "The Sufi Approach to Food: A Case

Study of Adab." The Muslim World 90 (2000): 198217.

Seidel, Kathleen. Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook and Art

Gallery 2000. Site posted August 2001. Available on the Internet at http://www.superluminal.com/cookbook/.

Paul Fieldhouse

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Sufism

Sufism (sōō´fĬzəm), an umbrella term for the ascetic and mystical movements within Islam. While Sufism is said to have incorporated elements of Christian monasticism, gnosticism, and Indian mysticism, its origins are traced to forms of devotion and groups of penitents (zuhhad) in the formative period of Islam. The early pious figures, later appropriated by Sufism, include Ali, Hasan al-Basri (d. 801), and Rabia al-Adawiyya, a woman from Basra (Iraq) who rejected worship motivated by the desire for heavenly reward or the fear of punishment and insisted on the love of God as the sole valid form of adoration. The word Sufi first appears in the 8th cent., probably in connection with the coarse wool that many ascetics wore.

Two central Sufi concepts are tawakkul, the total reliance on God, and dhikr, the perpetual remembrance of God. Al-Muhasibi (d. 857) and his disciple Junayd (d. 910) are representative early figures. The introduction of gnostic elements (marifa) into Sufism is often attributed to Dhu-n-Nun al-Misri (d. 859). Sufism nonetheless faced growing opposition from orthodox clerics. The scholastic and ecstatic paths further diverged with the concept of fana, the dissolution into the divine, advocated by al-Bistami (d. 874), and used by Hallaj in the declaration of his unity with God, which eventually led to his execution in 922. Islamic orthodoxy and Sufism were not irreconcilable, as attested by the attempt by al-Ghazali (d. 1111) to infuse conformist Muslim religious life with mysticism.

The evolution of Sufism in the post-Ghazali period was influenced by Ibn al-Arabi and Ibn al-Farid. Their theoretical contributions led to the development within Sufism of a complex system of initiation and progression toward the Divine and set the stage for the emergence of organized Sufi orders. This phase of literary Sufism was also characterized by the prominence of Persian works, notably those of Shihab ad-Din Suhrawardi (d. 1191), Farid ad-Din Attar, and Jalal ad-Din Rumi, and the subsequent development of Persian, Turkish, and Urdu mystic poetry. Important Sufi figures elsewhere in the Islamic world include Muin ad-Din Chishti in India and Baha ad-Din Naqshband (d. 1390) in central Asia.

Sufi orders, which assimilated aspects of native religious traditions more readily than more dogmatic versions of Islam, played a major role in the expansion of Islam into sub-Saharan Africa and central, S, and SE Asia. The oldest extant order with attested historicity is probably the Qadiriyya, founded by Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (d. 1166) in Baghdad. Other important orders include the Ahmadiyya (notably in Egypt), Naqshbandiyya (Central Asia), Nimatullahiyya (Iran), Rifaiyya (Egypt, SW Asia), Shadhiliyya (N Africa, Arabia), Suhrawardiyya and Chishtiyya (S and central Asia), and Tijaniyya (N and W Africa).

The work of Idries Shah was instrumental in introducing Sufism to the West; see his The Sufis (1964) and The Way of the Sufi (1968). Although Sufism has made significant contributions to the spread of Islam and the development of various aspects of Islamic civilization (e.g., literature and calligraphy), many conservative Muslims disagree with many popular Sufi practices, particularly saint worship, the visiting of tombs, and the incorporation of non-Islamic customs. Consequently, in recent centuries Sufism has been a target for Islamic conservative and reformist movements.

See A. J. Arberry, Sufism (1970); L. Lewin, ed., The Diffusion of Sufi Ideas in the West (1972); A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (1975) and As through a Veil (1982).

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Sufism

Sufism

A mystical movement of Islam. The name derives from the woollen clothing (suf ), worn by Sufis as a token of penitence, similar to the Christian penitent tradition of wearing hair shirts.

In medieval times Sufism was characterized by a complex system of striving for spiritual attainment and divine grace. The spiritual stages involved include conversion, abstinence, renunciation, poverty, patience, trust in God, and contentment; with spiritual states of meditation, nearness to God, love, fear, hope, longing, intimacy, tranquility, contemplation, and certainty. Much of this is analogous to the yama and niyama of Hindu yoga.

There were four orders of Sufis: the Qadiriyya, an orthodox wing emphasizing devotional exercises leading to spiritual experience; the Suhrawardiyya, less orthodox and with a suggestion of pantheism; the Shadhiliyya (widespread in Egypt and North Africa) with intense devotion and utter dependence on God; and the Mevlevi order, founded by the poet Rumi, which developed the special mystical dance of the dervishes.

Sufism has influenced religious movements in India, Java, and elsewhere and played a part in the development of such unorthodox prophets as Baha'u'llah of the Baha'i faith and the mystic Meher Baba. The major emphasis in Sufism is intense love for God, expressed in the perfection of the soul.

A Western Sufi organization is the Sufi Order (headed by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan), whose traditions are said to predate Islam and to have become incorporated in it. In 1910 the Sufi Order was established in Europe and the United States through the lectures of Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. The order stresses that God is one and that there are no barriers between religions. Address: Sufi Order Secretariat, Box 574, Lebanon Springs, NY 12114. British branch: Barton Farm, Pound Lake, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England.

A separate group of the Sufi movement is the Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society. Address: The Mentorgarten, 10 Precita Ave., San Francisco, CA 94110.Another Sufi group is the Sufi Cultural Center in London, established in 1971. It places great emphasis on the mysticism of music, and encourages the teaching of classical Indian music with the more modern adjunct of health foods and alternative healing.

(See also Idries Shah )

Sources:

Khan, Pir V. The Message in Our Time: The Life and Teachings of the Sufi Master, Hazrat Inayat Khan. New York: Harper & Row,1979.

Shah, Idries. The Sufis. London: W. H. Allen, 1964. .

The Way of the Sufi. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1970.

Subhan, John. Sufism: Its Saints and Shrines. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1973.

Williams, L. F. R., ed. Sufi Studies: East and West. London: Octagon Press, 1974.

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Sufism

Sufism the mystical system of the Sufis, the esoteric dimension of the Islamic faith, the spiritual path to mystical union with God. It is influenced by other faiths, such as Buddhism, and reached its peak in the 13th century. There are many Sufi orders, the best-known being the dervishes.

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Sufism

Sufism Mystic philosophical movement within Islam that developed among the Shi'ite communities in the 10th and 11th centuries. Sufis stress the capability of the soul to attain personal union with God. See also Dervish

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Sufism

Sufismchasm, spasm •enthusiasm • orgasm • sarcasm •ectoplasm • cytoplasm • iconoclasm •cataplasm • pleonasm • phantasm •besom • dirigisme •abysm, arrivisme, chrism, chrisom, ism, prism, schism •Shiism, theism •Maoism, Taoism •egoism • truism • Babism • cubism •sadism • nudism • Sufism • ageism •holism • cataclysm • monism • papism •verism • aneurysm • purism • Nazism •sexism • racism • paroxysm • autism •macrocosm • microcosm • bosom

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Sufism

SUFISM

SUFISM . One of the truly creative manifestations of religious life in Islam is the mystical tradition, known as Sufism. The term derives most probably from the Arabīc word for wool (ūf), since the early ascetics of Islam (ūfīs) are said to have worn coarse woolen garments to symbolize their rejection of the world.

Origins

Muslim mystical writers such as Abū Bakr al-Kalābādhī (d. 990/5) and ʿAlī al-Hujwīrī (d. 1071/2?), nonetheless, have proposed a number of etymologies for ūfī: aff, "rank," implying that ūfīs are an elite group among Muslims; uffah, "bench," alluding to the People of the Bench, the intimates of the prophet Muammad who gathered at the first mosque in Medina; āfaʾ, "purity," focusing on the moral uprightness essential to the ūfī way of life. The resolution of the etymological debate is less critical than the recognition that the terms ūfī and Sufism evoke complex layers of meaning in Islam, including the denial of the world, close association with the Prophet and his message, and a spiritual attainment that raises one to a rank of unique intimacy with God.

Some earlier Western scholars of Sufism concluded that mysticism is incompatible with the Muslim perception of an almighty, transcendent God with whom one shares little intimacy. In their opinion ūfī mysticism was born of Islam's contact with other major world religions, especially Christianity and Buddhism. This theory is no longer considered viable for two reasons: First, the Qurʾanic perception of the relationship of the individual to God is quite complex, highlighting both immanence and transcendence, and second, while no one denies that Islam evolved in a religiously pluralistic environment, one need not conclude that phenomena common to both Islam and other traditions are therefore derivative.

The vision of the God-man relationship in the Qurʾān offers a study in contrasts. On the one hand God is the almighty creator and lord of the cosmos who sustains the universe at every moment (Qurʾān 10:3 ff.); men and women are but servantsfinite, vulnerable, and prone to evil (2:30 ff. and 15:26 ff.). God is both lawgiver and judge (surahs 81 and 82); whatever he wills comes to be (2:142; 3:47; 3:129; 5:40; 13:27). Servants of God are enjoined to embrace his will, not question its import, for men and women will be rewarded or punished according to their deeds. To breach the lord-servant (rabb-ʿabd) relationship leads easily to the cardinal sin of shirk, substituting some other power for that of God.

On the other hand the inaccessibility of the transcendent Lord must be understood in the context of those Qurʾānic verses that speak of his abiding presence both in the world and in the hearts of the faithful. For did he not actually breathe his own spirit into Adam at creation (Qurʾān 15:29, 38:72)? And is he not closer to man than his own jugular vein (50:16)? God's presence is all-pervasive, for to him belong the East and the West, the whole of creation,

and wherever you turn, there is God's face. Truly God is omnipresent, omniscient. (2:115)

The Qurʾān enjoins on every Muslim the practice of recollecting God (33:41), for the peaceful heart is one in which the remembrance of God has become second nature (13:2829). The most crucial Qurʾānic verse for ūfīs, however, describes the establishment of the primordial covenant between God and the souls of men and women in a time before the creation of the cosmos:

And when your Lord took from the loins of the children of Adam their seed and made them testify about themselves (by saying), "Am I not your Lord?" They replied, "Yes, truly, we testify!" (7:172)

This unique event, which confirms the union between God and the souls of all men and women, has become known in ūfī literature as the "Day of Alast, " the day when God asked "Alastu bi-rabbikum" ("Am I not your Lord?"). The goal of every Muslim mystic is to recapture this experience of loving intimacy with the Lord of the Worlds.

The experience of mystical union need not, therefore, be seen as foreign to Islam. On the contrary, interior spiritual development becomes a concern at a relatively early date in the writings of important Qurʾān commentators. Of the two traditional methods of Qurʾanic exegesis predominating in Islam, tafsīr emphasizes the exoteric elements of the text: grammar, philology, history, dogma, and the like, while taʾwīl stresses the search for hidden meanings, the esoteric dimensions of the Qurʾanic text. It is among ūfīs (and Shīʿī Muslims) that taʾwīl has found special favor.

Early commentators such as Muqātil ibn Sulaymān (d. 767) often combined literalist and allegorical methods depending on the nature of the verse in question. More important is the contribution of the sixth imam of the Shīʿah, Jaʿfar al-ādiq (d. 765), who stressed not only the formal learning of the commentator but also his spiritual development. An individual's access to the deeper meanings of the Qurʾān is dependent, therefore, on his or her personal spiritual development. Since text and commentator interact dynamically as living realities, the Qurʾān reveals more of itself to the extent that the Muslim makes progress in the spiritual life. The power of the text is such that for many later ūfī commentators such as Sahl al-Tustarī (d. 896) simply hearing the recitation of the sacred text could induce ecstatic states in the soul of the listener.

The Ascetic movement

The early catalysts for the development of mysticism in Islam, however, were not all spiritual in nature. The dramatic social and political changes brought about by the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty in the mid-seventh century also played a pivotal role. The capital of the empire was moved from Medina to the more opulent and cosmopolitan Damascus, and the rapid spread of Islam introduced enormous wealth and ethnic diversity into what had originally been a spartan, Arab movement. In reaction to the worldliness of the Umayyads, individual ascetics arose to preach a return to the heroic values of the Qurʾān through the abandonment of both riches and the trappings of earthly power. The three major centers of the ascetic movement in the eighth and ninth centuries were Iraq, especially the cities of Basra, Kufa, and Baghdad; the province of Khorasan, especially the city of Balkh; and Egypt.

asan al-Barī

A leading figure of the period was asan al-Barī, who was born in Medina in 642 but settled in Basra, where he died in 728. asan was renowned for his almost puritanical piety and exceptional eloquence. At the heart of his preaching was the rejection of the world (al-dunyā ), which he described in a letter to the Umayyad caliph ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (r. 717720) as a venomous snake, smooth to the touch, but deadly. asan contrasts this world of transiency and corruption with the next world, which alone is a realm of permanence and fulfillment.

The extreme to which asan's anti-worldly stance led him is reflected most vividly in this same letter where he implies that the creation of the world was a mistake. From the moment God first looked on his handiwork, asan insists, God hated it. Such a theological position runs counter to the basic understanding of the value of creation that Islam shares with Judasim and Christianity. As Genesis 1:31 affirms, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." To speculate on the origins of asan's gnosticlike condemnation of the material world would take us beyond the objectives of this present article; suffice it to say that ambivalence toward materiality remained a significant aspect of later Islamic mysticism. The impact of gnostic ideas, however, continued to mold later Sufism, especially in the eastern provinces of the empire. The work of Henry Corbin has done much to open for the student of Sufism this complex world of ūfī, and especially Ismaʿīlī, gnosis.

asan al-Barī's asceticism, although world-denying, did not entail the total abandonment of society or social structures. On the contrary, asan functioned as the moral conscience of the state and fearlessly criticized the power structures when he felt they overstepped moral bounds. He eschewed the role of the revolutionary and refused to sanction movements designed to overthrow irreligious politicians. In Socratic fashion, asan preferred to work for the ruler's change of heart through persuasion, not violence. asan's dedication to ascetic ideals did not, moreover, lead him to forsake family life. He married and raised a family, albeit in straitened circumstances. While asan al-Barī is considered a pivotal figure in the early development of Sufism, he is also noted as a transmitter of traditions (adīth ) and as a defender of human freedom in the early theological debates of Islam.

Ibrāhīm ibn Adham

While there are some extant written materials attributable to asan al-Barī, textual sources for the lives and teachings of many early ascetics are of questionable value. Often the dearth of authentic historical sources makes it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between facts and pious embellishments. A prime example is the life of the famous ascetic Ibrāhīm ibn Adham (d. 770?). Ibrāhīm was said to be a prince of the formerly Buddhist city of Balkh; he gave up his throne in order to pursue the path of asceticism. Some Western commentators have pointed to the possible parallel between his life story and the Buddha legend.

The fables about Ibrāhīm highlight his generosity, altruism, and, most important, his complete trust in God (tawakkul). Ibrāhīm's quietism, however, did not lead him to depend on others for his subsistence. He preferred to work and scorned those who relied on begging. It would seem to be fact that he served in two naval battles against the Byzantines; while fighting in the second, he lost his life.

Many tales of Ibrāhīm's life stand out because of the ascetic practices they describe. He cherished ridicule and humiliation; more startling is his joyous acceptance of physical abusebloody beatings, being dragged by a rope tied round his neck, being urinated upon, and the like. Clearly such stories are later additions by hagiographers. Nonetheless these grotesque, seemingly masochistic acts are accepted as integral elements of his life history by many ūfī writers. And such tales have helped to shape later authors' understandings of asceticism in this early period of Sufism.

Rābiʿah al-ʿAdawīyah

The actual transition from asceticism to true love mysticism in Islam is documented in the spiritual theory of one of the first great female ūfīs, Rābiʿah al-ʿAdawīyah (d. 801). Sold into slavery as a child, she was eventually freed because of the depth of her piety. Rābiʿah's focus was not on asceticism as an end in itself, but rather on its ability to help foster a loving relationship with God. Asceticism was only one of the means necessary for the attainment of union; to make ascetic practices themselves the goal, and not intimacy with the Beloved, was, in her estimation, a distortion of the ūfī path.

The love Rābiʿah nurtured was completely altruistic; neither fear of Hell nor desire for Paradise were allowed to divert her gaze from the Beloved.

Rābiʿah's vision of altruistic love (maabbah ) and mystical intimacy (uns) are preserved in beautiful prayers and poems attributed to her. These represent some of the earliest aesthetic expressions of mystical experience in Islam.

One particularly vivid body of fables scattered throughout the Muslim sources centers on the spiritual rivalry between Rābiʿah al-ʿAdawīyah and asan al-Barī. The problem with these tales, however, is that they describe a relationship that was historically improbable. asan died in 728, when Rābiʿah was at best in her early teens. Despite its questionable historicity, the asan-Rābiʿah cycle provides a valuable insight into male-female relationships in early ūfī circles.

In the vast majority of these didactic tales Rābiʿah's spiritual insight and emotional maturity set her far above her male rival, asan, whose naiveté and presumptuous self-confidence are held up to ridicule. On occasion the conflict is described in actual male-female terms, with asan and his male ūfī companions insisting that no woman has the ability to match a man's spiritual perfection. While Rābiʿah proves them wrong beyond the shadow of a doubt, there remains the fact that her success is due partially to the abandonment of the traditional female role and the assumption of more male characteristics. For example, she is said to have repeatedly refused asan's marriage proposals and remained celibate and childless throughout her life.

Dhū al-Nūn al-Mirī

A number of early ūfīs such as Rābiʿah evinced a sophistication of esthetic expression and theoretical speculation that laid a solid foundation for later work by ūfī mystics. Pivotal figures such as Dhū al-Nūn al-Mirī (d. 859) were both poetic stylists and theoreticians. Although no complete text of his mystical writings has survived, many of his logia, prayers, and poems have been preserved by later writers. He was master of the epigram and an accomplished poetic stylist in Arabic. The full force of his literary talent comes to light, however, in his prayers.

The child of Nubian parents, Dhū al-Nūn was born in Upper Egypt at the end of the eighth century. While many of the factual details of his life are often indistinguishable from pious fiction, a reliable kernel of historical data emerges. Although he lived in Cairo, Dhū al-Nūn traveled extensively, and during one of his sojourns in Baghdad, he ran afoul of the caliph al-Mutawakkil (r. 847861). The confrontation was sparked by his refusal to accept the Muʿtazilī doctrine of the createdness of the Qurʾān. For this act of defiance, Dhū al-Nūn was imprisoned; during his heresy trial, however, he so affected the caliph with his apologia for the ūfī life that al-Mutawakkil released him unharmed.

The preserved sayings of Dhū al-Nūn attest to the profundity of his mystical insight and to the skill with which he developed terminology and structures to analyze the mystical life. He excelled at elucidating the nuances of the various stages (maqāmāt) and states (awāl) encountered by the mystic along the ūfī path. To him is attributed the first construction of a coherent theory of maʿrifah, spiritual gnosis, which he contrasts with ʿilm, the more traditional path of discursive reason.

A pivotal aspect of Dhū al-Nūn's mysticism is the coincidentia oppositorum, the "conjunction of opposites." The God who pours out his love upon the faithful ūfī wayfarer is, in Dhū al-Nūn's view, the same God who afflicts his lover with pain and torment. God is, at one and the same time, al-muyī, "the giver of life," and al-mumīt, "the one who kills." Legend has it that at his death the following words were found inscribed on his forehead:

This is the beloved of God,
who died in God's love.
This is the slain of God,
who died by God's sword.

Mystical ecstasy

The evolution of ascetic and theoretical principles to guide the ūfī wayfarer, and the growing sophistication of aesthetic expressions of love mysticism were not the only signs of a maturing mystical tradition in Islam. An additional area of creative exploration by a number of ninth- and tenth-century ūfīs centered on refining the understanding of what actually constitutes the goal of mystical experience.

Rābiʿah's articulation of the primacy of love in mystical union provided a general framework for discussion; it did not, however, resolve the most vexing question. Does union entail the complete obliteration of the lover's soul in the Beloved or is the object of mysticism a loving relationship in which both lover and Beloved preserve their independence? Expressed more technically, of what do the experiences of mystical annihilation (fanāʾ ) and persistence in union (baqāʾ ) consist?

Abū Yazīd al-Bisāmī

The debate was brought to a head in dramatic fashion by a number of mystics whose ecstatic utterances provoked and scandalized the traditional elements both within and without the ūfī movement. One of the earliest ecstatics was Abū Yazīd (known also as Bāyazīd) āyfūr ibn ʿĪsā al-Bisāmī (d. 874), who lived in seclusion at Bisām in the province of Qūmis. Few details of his life are known, but it is said that he was initiated into the subtleties of mystical union by one Abū ʿAlī al-Sindī and that he developed a friendship with Dhū al-Nūn.

Muslim hagiographers and spiritual writers have preserved, nevertheless, many of the ecstatic utterances (shaaāt) attributed to Abū Yazīd. These sayings differ from earlier ūfī expressions of union because of their seeming affirmation of the total identification of lover and Beloved. Cries of "Subānī!" ("Glory be to me!") and "Mā aʿaMā shaʾnī!" ("How great is my majesty!") shocked the uninitiated because they smacked of shirk, associationism, and aroused many Muslims' suspicions that Sufism was a heretical movement.

In a famous text, considered spurious but existing in several versions, Abū Yazīd vividly describes his reenactment of the Prophet's night journey (miʿrāj) as a mystical ascent during which his "I" is gradually absorbed into the "He" of the Beloved. Eventually "He" and "I" become interchangeable, for in reality the attributes of Abū Yazīd's essence have been subsumed into God.

This particular understanding of mystical annihilation (fanāʾ) is characteristic of Abū Yazīd's mystical theory. Complete fanāʾ is attained only after the most arduous stripping away of one's attributes. Nothing is spared, neither personality nor spiritual attainments. Abū Yazīd compares the process to the snake's struggle to slough off its skin, or to the blacksmith's violent manipulation of red-hot iron. The mystic experiences the most dramatic shifts of emotion and spiritual experience; the soul vacillates between the expansive rapture of bat, in which the self appears literally to fill a room, and the implosion of qab, in which the self seems reduced to the size of the tiniest sparrow.

Because of the apparent extremism of his ecstatic utterances, al-Bisāmī was revered by later ūfīs as the advocate of the path of intoxication (sukr ) in contrast with the path of sobriety (aw ) associated with the famous Baghdad ūfī Abū al-Qāsim al-Junayd (d. 910). The division between sober and intoxicated ūfīs was to remain an important one throughout the history of Islamic mysticism.

Al-allāj

Despite their dramatic power, the ecstatic utterances of Abū Yazīd al-Bisāmī are overshadowed by those of the most famous of the Baghdad mystics, usayn ibn Manūr al-allāj. He was born in 857 at al-ūr, in the Iranian province of Fārs. His initiation into Sufism began early in life, while he was still a teenager. For more than twenty years he lived in seculsion and was trained by a number of the great ūfī masters of the period: Sahl al-Tustarī, ʿAmr al-Makkī, and al-Junayd.

Eventually, however, al-allāj broke away from his teachers and became an itinerant preacher. His wanderings led him through Arabia and Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent. He came into contact with sages and mystics from a number of other religious traditions who expanded the horizons of his own religious experience. As he continued to mature spiritually al-allāj attracted increasingly larger numbers of disciples. He became known as allāj al-asrār, "the carder of consciences," a play on the family name al-allāj, which meant "cotton carder."

The core of al-allāj's preaching was a call to moral reform and to the experience of intense union with the Beloved. Among al-allāj's poetic and prose writings, one phrase stands out as the paradigmatic expression of mystical ecstasy, his famous "Anā al-āqq!" ("I am the divine Truth!"). To the ears of non-ūfīs and of more sober elements in Sufism, al-allāj's self-divinizing cry was tantamount to shirk, if not a bald rephrasing of the Christian notion of incarnation (ulūl).

It is very doubtful that al-allāj wished to be considered primarily a metaphysician. Consequently the charges leveled against him were due to misperceptions of the intent of his mystical expressions. It would remain for later ūfīs to articulate philosophically a doctrine of identity between God and creation. Al-allāj's expressions of ecstasy, on the contrary, are part of a tradition whose main goal was to celebrate the transforming power of the experience of mystical union with the Beloved; secondarily the concern was to contribute to the growing body of technical terminology and theoretical speculation about the nature of mysticism.

Many scholars have considered al-allāj's proclamation of unique intimacy with the divine to be one of the main causes of his eventual imprisonment and execution at the hands of the Abbasid authorities. There is no doubt that al-allāj's ecstatic utterances and his reinterpretation of certain elements of Islamic ritual practice were objects of violent criticism by many of the religious hierarchy. His execution, however, was as much the result of politics as of mysticism.

Al-allāj's insistence on announcing publicly his vision of mystical union transgressed a cardinal principle of the great ūfī masters of his generation. The accomplished mystic was never to divulge to the uninitiated experiences that were beyond their comprehension; the true nature of union was to be discussed only with one's fellow adepts or not at all. Such elitism did not conform to al-allāj's more populist notion of mysticism. For his lack of prudence he was ostracized by his former teacher al-Junayd and was branded a political threat and rabble-rouser by the secular authorities.

Finally, al-allāj found himself embroiled in caliphal politics during the reign of al-Muqtadir (908932). He was lionized and defended by one vizier and condemned by the next, protected by the caliph's mother, but finally sentenced to death by the son. Al-allāj spent about eight years in prison before he was eventually executed in 922. The gruesome details have been recorded by his disciples: Al-allāj was flogged, mutilated, exposed on a gibbet, and finally decapitated. The body was then burned. For al-allāj, however, death was not a defeat; on the contrary, he desired fervently to become a martyr of love. Al-allāj was convinced that it was the duty of the religious authorities to put him to death, just as it was his duty to continue to preach aloud the unique intimacy he shared with the divine:

Kill me, my trusted friends,
for in my death is my life!
Death for me is in living, and
life for me is in dying.
The obliteration of my essence
is the noblest of blessings.
My perdurance in human attributes,
the vilest of evils.

The creativity of al-allāj's work is reflected perhaps most strikingly in his ingenious use of the science of opposites. In his Kitāb al-awāsīn al-allāj describes his two role models in mysticism as Iblīs (the devil) and Pharaoh. Both suffered condemnation at the hands of God, al-allāj attests, yet neither swerved from his appointed course. The Qurʾanic text affirms on several occasions that Iblīs, who was chief of the angels and the most dedicated of monotheists, was commanded by God to bow to the newly created Adam. He refused, despite God's threat to condemn him forever, and chose, like al-allāj, to become a martyr of love.

My refusal is the cry, "Holy are you!"
My reason is madness, madness for you.
What is Adam, other than you?
And who is Iblīs to set apart one from the other?

All three are outcasts who have transgressed the law to attain a higher goal. Yet the reason for the transgression is each one's love relationship with God, which functions as a higher law for the perfected ūfī.

My friend and my teacher are Iblīs and Pharaoh. Iblīs was threatened with the fire, but he did not go back on his preaching. And Pharaoh was drowned in the Red Sea, but he did not acknowledge any mediator at all. And if I were killed, or crucified, or if my hands and feet were cut off, I would not go back on my preaching.

ʿAyn al-Quāt

An even more subtle treatment of the science of opposites (coincidentia oppositorum ) is evident in the work of another martyr-mystic of Islam, ʿAyn al-Quāt al-Hamadhāni, who was born in western Iran in 1098. He proved himself a brilliant student as a young man, mastering the traditional Islamic religious sciences. He was also recognized for the quality of his literary style in both Arabic and Persian. The most influential ūfī master in his spiritual formation was Amad al-Ghazālī (d. 1128), a preeminent teacher and the brother of the most famous mystic-theologian in Islam, Abū amid al-Ghazālī (d. 1111). Amad's own contribution to Sufism is considerable, especially his classic treatise on mystical love, Sawanih.

As ʿAyn al-Quāt's fame grew, his disciples increased and, like al-allāj, he soon incurred the wrath of the religious and political authorities. He was accused of a number of heretical ideas, the most serious being the claim that there was a complete identity between the Creator and his creation. Imprisoned in Baghdad, ʿAyn al-Quāt was later transferred to his native city of Hamadhān where he was put to death in grisly fashion in 1131; he was only thirty-three years of age.

The conjunction of opposites, according to ʿAyn al-Quāt, is reflected in the very notion of the God of Islam. One need look only to the Muslim confession of faith (Shahādah) for confirmation: "Lā ilāha illā Allāh" ("There is no god but God!"). Lā ilāha ("there is no god") is the realm of the malevolent divine attributes, which spawn falsehood and which seduce the soul of the mystic away from the truth.

To pass from lā ilāha to the realm of illā Allāh ("but God") requires that the ūfī wayfarer confront God's chamberlain, who stands guard at the threshold of illā Allāh. Who is this chamberlain? None other than the devil Iblīs.

In the same way that al-allāj in his Kitāb al-awāsīn purports that the devil Iblīs is a model of piety, ʿAyn al-Quāt employs this paradoxical motif to dramatize the tension of opposites in God. He links Iblīs with Muammad, claiming that both are but different aspects of the same divine reality. Iblīs is described as the black light of straying while Muammad is the white light of truth and gnosis; both spring, however, from the same attribute of God, namely his power. Muammad is the guiding light of God's power while Iblīs is its destructive fire.

Perhaps the most creative symbols employed by ʿAyn al-Quāt to capture the conflict within God are those of the curl and the mole that lay upon the face of the Beloved. The lock of hair that hangs in an arrogant curl over the cheek of the Beloved enjoys a privileged state of intimacy. Instead of driving away the seeker from the threshold of illā Allāh with the sword of divine power, or deceiving the soul with black light, the Iblīs-curl distracts and seduces the ūfī with the amorous gestures of the coquette, thus entangling the soul in lesser spiritual attainments.

The image of the Iblīs-curl must, of course, have its Muammad counterpart. In addition to the curl, the mistress possesses another mark of beauty, a black mole on the cheek that is equated with Muammad. Both curl and mole, however, spring from the face of God; the curl is seducer while the mole is the guide to Truth.

All of the paradoxical images used by ʿAyn al-Quātthe tension between curl and mole, black light and white light, between lā ilāha and illā Allāh point to the fact that God himself is the source of paradoxes. Moreover ʿAyn al-Quāt is convinced that both poles of the paradox must be experienced if one is to attain true spiritual gnosis:

Unbelief and faith are two veils beyond the throne between God and the servant, because man must be neither unbeliever nor Muslim.

Mystical Literature

The science of opposites, with its rich symbolism and provocative speculation, appealed only to a small number of ūfīs because of the level of intellectual sophistication it demanded and because of its esoteric quality. In contrast, beginning in the late ninth century, a number of texts began to appear that were aimed at a broader spectrum of the Muslim faithful and functioned as training guides for men and women interested in cultivating mystical experience.

The manual tradition

The emphasis of the manuals was not on the arcane dimensions of Sufism, but on its accessibility and its conformity with Islamic orthodoxy.

One of the earliest manuals addressed to a ūfī novice is the Kitāb al-riʿāyah (Book of consideration) of Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-ārith ibn Asad al-Muāsibi (d. 857). He is remembered particularly for his skill in developing the examination of conscience as an effective tool for advancement in the spiritual life.

Among the classics of this genre of religious literature in Sufism are the Kitāb al-ta ʿarruf (Book of knowledge) of Abū Bakr Muammad al-Kalābādhī (d. 990 or 995), the Kitāb al-lumaʿ (Book of concise remarks) of Abū Nar ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAlī al-Sarraj (d. 988), Al-risālah al-qushayrīyah (The Qushayrīan letter) of Abū al-Qāsim ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Qushayrī (d. 1074), the Kashf al-majūb (Unveiling of the veiled) of ʿAlī ibn ʿUthmān al-Jullābī al-Hujwīrī (d. 1071/2?), and the Qūt al-qulūb (Nourishment of the heart) of Abū ālib Muammad ibn ʿAlī ibn ʿAīyah al-ārithī al-Makkī (d. 996).

Spiritual guidance

Doubtless the primary goal of these manuals was to serve as guides for novices newly embarked upon the ūfī path. The literary structure reflected this; often the conceit was that of the master writing to, or answering the questions of, a particular disciple. The internal composition of the texts varies considerably from one author to the next. Some are collections of insights strung together like random pearls; others, such as the Kashf al-majūb of al-Hujwīrī, present a coherent and systematic analysis of Sufism.

Earlier ūfīs had relied heavily on the personal relationship of master (shaykh, pir) with disciple (murid, ālib ) to provide the guidance necessary for spiritual progress. But as the number both of disciples and of famous shaykhs increased, written manuals became invaluable supplements to personal spiritual direction. The manuals preserved the teachings of many of the greatest ūfī guides and made their wisdom available to a larger number of the brethren. While ūfī manuals never supplanted the master-disciple relationship, they did attain a permanent place of influence and honor among Muslim mystics.

In addition to providing spiritual guidance, the ūfī manuals also addressed a number of subsidiary issues of critical importance. The first was the need to legitimize the place of Sufism in the broader spectrum of Islamic religious life. To this end authors such as al-Kalābādhī and al-Qushayrī made deliberate efforts to demonstrate that Sufism was in conformity with the orthodox theological synthesis, namely Ashʿarism. Al-Sarrāj as well took pains to prove that Sufism was completely in tune with the Qurʾān, adīth, and Islamic legal tradition (sharīʿah ).

A further cause of heightened tension between ūfīs and the champions of orthodoxy concerned the possible conflict between the roles of ūfī saint and traditional prophet. Sunnī Islam presumed that prophethood was the pinnacle of spiritual perfection, exemplified by Muammad himself. To substantiate this claim, Muslim theology asserted that all prophets possessed the special gift of impeccability (ʿimah ); each had the power, moreover, to perform a unique miracle (muʿjizah ) in order to verify his mission.

Some ūfīs, on the other hand, suggested that sainthood was an even more elevated spiritual rank than prophethood because it presumed a unique intimacy with the divine. Most manual writers, however, evolved a less polemical stance, one designed to reinforce the mainstream character of Sufism. They concluded that the highest level of sainthood was only the first level of prophethood. While the prophet was impeccable from birth, the saint was only protected (mafū ) from committing serious sin, and this only after he or she had attained sainthood. Whereas the miracles of the prophets were unique and indisputable, the miracles of the saints (karāmāt ) were repeatable and subject to satanic influence.

A common objective of all the ūfī manuals is to analyze in depth the various stages and states that make up the ūfī path. Stages are considered by spiritual writers to be levels of permanent growth in the mystical life; states represent the more transient emotional and psychological experiences associated with the various stages. The process of scrutinizing in analytic fashion the stages and states of mystical experience resulted in the creation of a sophisticated technical vocabulary that provided a basis for common discourse among ūfīs of every generation.

The exploration of the stages and states of mystical experience resulted, as well, in the development of highly refined theories of spiritual psychology. ūfī psychologists aimed first and foremost at providing trainees with the means to gain control over the nafs, or lower soul (see surah 12:53), which was identified as the satanic element within men and women. Al-Makkī describes the nafs as arrogant, deceptive, envious, a beast that wallows in excess.

The ūfī novice was not helpless, however, in his confrontation with the nafs. Men and women possessed an angelic force (malak ) sent by God to do battle with the nafs in the arena of the heart (qalb ). As al-Muāsibī indicates, both malak and nafs employ similar weapons, notably the various internal impulses (khawāir ) that arise in the heart urging one to good or evil.

On occasion the various movements in the heart are quickly identifiable either as the satanic whisperings (waswasah ) of the nafs or as the impulses of the malak. Much more difficult, however, are those times when the origin of the khawāir is unclear. For the devil-nafs excels at deluding the soul of the ūfī and seducing him or her to actions that, while not sinful, deflect the ūfī from the road to the greater good. It is in dealing with these spiritual dilemmas that the techniques of ūfī psychology articulated in the manual tradition demonstrate their subtlety and true sophistication.

Al-Ghazālī

The effort of many of the manual writers to legitimize Sufism's place in Islam culminates in the work of a man whose contribution to the Islamic religious sciences ranges far beyond mysticism. Abū āmid Muammad ibn Muammad al-Ghazālī was born at ūs near the modern Iranian city of Mashhad in 1058. His early training was in jurisprudence (fiqh ), but he soon excelled in theology (kalām ) and eventually in Arabic philosophy (falsafah ), which was exemplified by the Neoplatonism of al-Fārābī and Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna).

A recurring theme in al-Ghazālī's work is the relationship between reason and revelation. The great Arab philosophers tilted the balance in favor of reason, insisting that truth was attainable without the aid of revelation. The conclusions arrived at by philosophers, however, did not always conform to the standard orthodoxy derived from the Qurʾān. For example, dogmas on the creation of the world from nothing, the resurrection of the dead, God's knowledge of particulars as well as universalsall were called into question by the philosophers.

Al-Ghazālī championed the truth of revelation over that of philosophical speculation. He was not, like some fundamentalist extremists, antiphilosophical however. On the contrary, al-Ghazālī's fascination with philosophical logic is manifested in many of his works, for he was convinced that philosophy could contribute substantially to Muslims' understanding of law and theology. It was only against the excesses of philosophy that he railed in his Tahāfut al-falāsifah (The incoherence of the philosophers), not against philosophical reasoning per se.

Al-Ghazālī's influence was enhanced by the political support he received from the ruling authorities, especially the Seljuk vizier Niām al-Mulk, who appointed him professor at the Niāmīyah madrasah in Baghdad in 1091. It was during his professorship at Baghdad, however, that a personal crisis radically transformed the future shape of al-Ghazālī's career. Whereas his earlier concerns had been with more theoretical and speculative issues, the focus now shifted to the role of religious experience in the life of the Muslim.

In 1095 al-Ghazālī experienced what can only be called an emotional and psychological breakdown. As he described it later in his autobiography, Al-munqidh min al-alāl (The deliverer from error), his state of anxiety left him almost catatonic. He suffered terrible doubts about his ability to arrive at any religious truth; more important he was overwhelmed by the emptiness of external religious ritual and law. Al-Ghazālī abandoned his teaching career and sought a solution to his doubts in Sufism, which, he hoped, would provide him with the personal experience of truth or dhawq (lit., "taste").

The success of his quest is attested by his later writings, which foster the integration of an interior life with the life of external observance. Alone, each leads either to excess or to spiritual myopia; together, however, they constitute a life of balance and dynamic spiritual growth. To this end al-Ghazālī wrote what was to be his most influential work, the Iyāʾ ʿulūm al-Dīn (Revivification of the religious sciences), which epitomizes his vision of Islamic life and which remains an integral part of the training of Muslim scholars to this day.

After eleven years of absence from teaching, al-Ghazālī was persuaded to return once again to the classroom by the vizier Fakhr al-Mulk, son of his late patron, Niām al-Mulk. His second career lasted only several years, for he retired to a ūfī convent at ūs before his death in 1111. The measure of his impact on the intellectual life of Islam is impossible to calculate. In the history of Sufism, however, he is especially remembered for having contributed substantially to the acceptance of mystical experience as an integral dimension of Islamic religion.

Other genres

In addition to the ūfī manuals, other important genres of mystical literature developed in the classical period. Fables, epigrams, epic poems, poetry, aphorisms, all were creative vehicles for mystical expression. Early Qurʾān commentators and street preachers had focused on the lives of the prophets for inspiration. This spawned the Qia al-anbīyaʾ (Tales of the prophets), collections of lively didactic stories, often with moral themes. In similar fashion the lives of famous ūfīs were assembled by mystical writers into biographical dictionaries, which evolved into important companion volumes to the manuals.

Despite the fact that authors rarely distinguished between historical fact and pious fiction, these hagiographic compendia are crucial for current knowledge of the lives and teachings of the great masters of classical Sufism. Individual compilers, moreover, offer important critiques of a number of ūfī movements, mystical theories, and the like.

The first systematic history of the lives of ūfī mystics is ascribed to Abū ʿAbd al-Ramān al-Azdī al-Sulamī (d. 1021). His abaqāt al-ūfīyah (Generations of the ūfīs) became the basis for the expanded versions of two later ūfīs, the abaqāt al-ūfīyah of Abū Ismāʿīl Abd Allāh Anarī (d. 1089) and the Nafaat al-uns (Wafts of pleasure) of Nūr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Ramān ibn Amad Jāmī (d. 1492). The most comprehensive work of ūfī hagiography, however, is the prodigious, multivolume ilyat al-awliyāʾ (Necklace of saints) of Abū Nuʿaym al-Ifahānī (d. 1037). Later writers continued the tradition, including Farīd al-Dīn ʿAār (d. 1221?) with his Tadhkirat al-awliyāʾ (Biographies of the saints).

ʿAbd Allāh Anarī and the epigram

Many of these authors excelled at more than one genre of mystical literature. ʿAbd Allāh Anarī of Herat, a city in present-day Afghanistan, for example, is noted for important works on mystical theory but most especially for his epigrams, the Munajat (Intimate conversations). This tiny book, a milestone in ūfī literature, is the vade mecum of countless Persian-speaking Muslims. Although the text appears deceptively simple it contains the kernel of Ansari's complex vision of mystical union.

To appreciate Anarī's contribution to Islamic mysticism, it is essential to place him in the context of the theological debates that resulted in the classical synthesis of al-Ashʿarī (d. 935) and his school. Controversies arose in the ninth century over differing interpretations of the Qurʾanic verses dealing with freedom and predestination, the nature of divine attributes, and the origins of good and evil. The most influential group defending radical freedom and moral responsibility were the Muʿtazilah, whose views were strongly influenced by Greek thought. Since human beings are responsible for their deeds, they insisted, God cannot be blamed in any way for human turpitude. Reward and punishment are absolutely just because God himself is just. Furthermore God's justice requires that actions have an intrinsic moral worth that can be recognized by men and women.

The logic of the Muʿtazilī view, nevertheless, was challenged by verses in the Qurʾān itself that emphasize God's complete omnipotence and question human beings' ability to determine their fates, for God "leads astray whomever he wills and guides whomever he wills" (16:93). A solution proposed by al-Ashʿarī and his followers was to choose neither radical freedom nor complete predestination, but rather to affirm both as true. This use of paradox as a hermeneutical tool permeates both theology and mysticism in Islam.

It must be admitted, however, that al-Ashʿarī's views leaned more in the direction of predestinarianism than of freedom. He was a staunch proponent of God's complete control over human actions; freedom is little more than God's willingness to allow people to participate in their determination of their fate. It is God alone who first creates human actions and then ascribes them to humans.

Even secondary causality is called into question because to assert that nature functions independently according to its own laws seems to ascribe to nature an independent power separate from God, a position smacking of shirk. In defending God's absolute omnipotence, furthermore, al-Ashʿarī was obliged to deny the intrinsic goodness or evil of human actions. An action is good or evil only because God has determined it to be so. Lying, for example, is evil because God has so decreed; if he changed his mind lying would be right.

Anarī's theological views were even more conservative than those of al-Ashʿarī. As a follower of Amad ibn anbal (d. 855), Anarī defended the most literalist interpretations of the Qurʾān. Whereas the Muʿtazilah allegorized the anthropomorphic descriptions of God's attributes in the Qurʾān, and the Ashʿarīyah affirmed their existence, albeit in a way beyond the grasp of human reason, Anarī and the anabīlah insisted that the verses must be taken at face value. Consequently his positions appeared even more paradoxical than those of the more moderate Ashʿarīyah.

As Anarī indicates in the Munājāt, God commands people to obey him and then prevents their compliance. Adam and Eve, for example, are seduced not by Satan, but by God. Their seduction is predestined and they are obliged to particpate. Despite the seeming victimization of humans by God, however, the ūfīs are not to conclude that they are absolved of responsibility for their evil deeds. Paradoxical as it may sound, Anarī recommends that the true attitude of the devoted mystic is that taken by Adam and Eve when they were confronted with the tragedy of their sin. They realized they were God's pawns but blamed themselves for the deed: "And they both said, ʿO Lord, we have wronged ourselves!"' (surah 7:23).

Anarī moves naturally in the Munājāt from a discussion of the paradoxical tension between freedom and predestination to that between good and evil. And he reflects an attitude toward ethics that is characteristic of many of the ecstatic ūfīs: Whatever God wills for the mystic, be it blessing or curse, intimacy or separation, is good because it comes from God. Such a stance runs counter to the mainstream ethics of Sunnī Islam, which locate the guide for human action and the determination of moral worth in the synthesis of Qurʾān, adīth, and sharīʿah.

For the perfected ūfī, however, there is a higher law, namely the love relationship, that determines action and provides the means to evaluate the goodness or evil of particular behavior. The upshot is that, for the ūfī elite, certain practices are permissible that would be disproved according to the religious law of the community.

Such an attitude has often been cited as proof of the dangerous antinomian tendencies endemic to Sufism. On closer examination, however, such behavior is not that far removed from the classical Ashʿarī synthesis. Al-Ashʿarī, as has been seen, claims that actions are good or evil because God determines them to be so; moreover, if he changed his mind about a particular action its moral worth would change. What one finds in the behavior of a number of ūfīs is, in fact, the acting out of this hypothetical case, for the ūfī elite insist that the quality of their love relationship with the divine raises them to a higher tier of ethics, one at times radically different from the lower tier. Anarī counsels the ūfī to move beyond the everyday concerns with reward or punishment, and beyond the common notions of good and evil. The goal is to please the Beloved; that is what constitutes the good.

Anarī goes so far as to claim that the lover-beloved relationship moves one to a plateau on which even the five pillars of Islam appear superfluous. The pilgrimage to Mecca is an occasion for tourism; almsgiving is something that should be left to philanthropists; fasting is an ingenious way to save food; and ritual prayers should be left to old crones. The focus of the mystic should not be the laws and ritual structures of the Islamic community (ummah ); it is the love relationship that supersedes all.

Anarī is a dramatic example of the mystic whose basic theological and religious conservatism do not bar him from the most exuberant expressions of union. He is not, however, alone in perceiving that the ūfī adept must often move beyond the constraints of Islamic law. Abū Saʿīd ibn Abī al-Khayr (d. 1089) of Mayhana in Khorasan, for example, mirrors as well the same paradoxical approach to religious practice. He began his life as a violent ascetic, isolating himself from normal social intercourse and faithfully observing the obligations of the law. It is said that he was discovered by his father hanging upside down in a pit, reciting the Qurʾān.

At the age of forty, however, Abū Saʿīd attained gnosis (maʿrifah ) and his actions changed dramatically. He and his followers became renowned for their feasting. In place of ritual prayer, communal ūfī devotions were substituted. Once, when questioned by a non-initiate about his attitude toward the pillars of Islam, especially the pilgrimage to Mecca, he replied that it was a waste of time to travel so far simply to circumambulate a stone house (the Kaʿbah). Rather, the sacred cube should circumambulate him! These statements, shocking though they were to non-ūfīs and even to some of the more sober mystics, were not intended to flout the law. On the contrary, the privileged spiritual elite understood their behavior as that which was enjoined on them by the Beloved.

The mathnavī: Farīd al-Dīn ʿAār

The epigrams of ʿAbd Allāh Anarī, succinct and accessible to a wide range of people, are in sharp contrast with the poetic genre of mathnavī, which was introduced into Sufism by the Ghaznavid poet akīm Abū al-Majd Majdūd ibn Adam Sanāʾī (d. 1131?). The rhyming couplets of the mathnavī had previously been made famous in secular literature by the renowned Persian poet Firdawsi in his Shāh-nāmah (The epic of the kings). The general structure of Sanāʾī's mystical mathnavī s, the most famous of which is the adīqat al-aqīqah (The garden of truth), is imitated by later ūfī authors. The framework consists of mystical teachings interspersed with illustrative fables, anecdotes, proverbs, and the like. The different mathnavī s vary, however, in length, the quality of their style, and in the organization and development of their themes.

Important as Sanāʾī's introduction of the mathnavī into Sufism was, he is not remembered as a great stylist. For a true master of the mathnavī form one must turn to the Persian poet and spiritual guide, Farīd al-Dīn ʿAār (d. 1221?). ʿAār lived most of his life in and around the city of Nishapur, near the modern Iranian city of Mashhad. It is reported that he was killed during the Mongol sack of the city. His name indicates his occupation, that of apothecary, and it appears that he continued in his profession even as he composed his mystical treatises.

It is evident from ʿAār's work that he was a man learned in both the religious sciences and secular literature. He demonstrates enormous perspicacity in his treatment of the subtleties of the spiritual life. ʿAār's success, however, is due equally to the fact that he possessed the requisite literary skills to mold his ideas into an aesthetic whole of genuine quality. ʿAār is poet, storyteller, and spiritual theorist; he entertains, cajoles, and leads the reader through numerous levels of spiritual awareness.

Of his mathnavī s the best known is the mythic fable Maniq al-ayr (The conference of the birds). The text operates on a number of levels. On the surface it is a lively fable about a group of birds who decide to seek out their king, the Sīmurgh, of whom they have only the barest recollections. The journey is long and arduous, the path uncertain. Many birds abandon the quest out of weakness, apathy or fear; others perish along the way. Finally thirty birds arrive at the palace of the Sīmurgh. This event constitutes the pun on which the story is based, for "thirty birds" in Persian is sī murgh.

The far more serious level on which the fable operates is that of an elaborate analysis of the ūfī path. Asceticism, illumination, and finally union are explored in depth. The internal structure of the work resembles an ascending spiral staircase. The bird-souls progress upward, often returning to an earlier point, except now at a more advanced level. The birds are not uniform souls but mirror a variety of human personality types. Their strengths and difficulties reflect, moreover, the issues faced by a wide variety of ūfī seekers.

The overall power of the work is due to its meticulous organization. It is necessary to study the text closely to appreciate the care with which ʿAār develops his multileveled thematic structure. The last section of the work describes the seven valleys through which the tested remnant must pass in order to reach the Simurgh. The final valley is that of fanāʾ, "annihilation," where the thirty birds merge with their beloved Simurgh as the moth merges with the flame.

Lyric and mathnavī: Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī

Despite ʿAt-tar's obvious literary and analytic skills, his work is surpassed by the greatest of the Persian mystical poets, Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (known as Mawlānā, "our master"). Rūmī was born in Balkh in 1207, the son of Bahāʾ al-Dīn Walad, who was himself a noted legist, teacher, and spiritual guide. Around 1219, however, Bahāʾ al-Dīn left Balkh because of the threat of invasion by the Mongols. The family set out on pilgrimage to Mecca, passing through the city of Nishapur where, it is reported, Bahāʾ al-Dīn and his young son met ʿAār, who predicted Rūmī's future greatness.

Bahāʾ al-Dīn settled eventually in Konya in Anatolia (known as Rūm, hence the name Rūmī). He was warmly received by the ruling Seljuk authorities and resumed his career as teacher and shaykh. Following in his father's footsteps, Jalāl al-Dīn became well versed in the Islamic religious sciences and philosophical theology. After Bahāʾ al-Dīn's death in 1231, Jalāl al-Dīn assumed his father's teaching post.

Rūmī's ūfī training progressed in serious fashion under the tutelage of Burhān al-Dīn Muaiqqiq, one of his father's disciples. The critical moment in Rūmī's spiritual development, however, was his meeting in 1244 with Shams al-Dīn of Tabriz. For two years they were inseparable, Rūmī finding in Shams the vehicle through which to experience the true ecstasy of mystical love. Their relationship was a source of jealousy and scandal among Rūmī's family and followers. Abruptly, Shams departed Konya for parts unknown.

Rūmī was disconsolate, but, with the help of his son Sulān Walad, he engineered Shams's return. Rūmī's rekindled joy was shortlived, however, because Shams disappeared for the last time in 1248, and there is persuasive circumstantial evidence that Shams was murdered, perhaps with the connivance of Rūmī's family.

The intense love relationship Rūmī shared with Shams was the catalyst for the creation of some of the most extraordinary poetry in the Persian language. Rūmī was prolific; his poetic verses number close to forty thousand, collected in a work that bears the name of his beloved, the Divāni Shams-i Tabrīzī. He is a master of imagery, ranging from the mundane realities of food, weaving, and the like to more subtle treatments of nature, music, and religious symbols. Prominent, of course, is the image of Shams, "the sun," in whose brilliance and intensity Rūmī loses himself. Both the agony of separation and the exhiliration of union ebb and flow throughout his poetry. The emotions evoked run the gamut of human experience. Rūmī does not hesitate to shock; anger, cruelty, and vulgar sexuality share the stage with the ecstasy of annihilation in the Beloved, proving that the ūfī quest must not be romanticized. Love not only has the potential to fulfill; it also destroys.

Rūmī's other masterpiece, his Mathnavī-yi maʿnavī (Spiritual Couplets), was written at the urging of his cherished disciple usām al-Dīn Chelebī. usām al-Dīn, like many ūfīs of the period, discovered in the mathnavī s of Sanāʾī and ʿAār a wealth of spiritual wisdom. It was imperative, usām al-Dīn believed, for his revered shaykh to preserve his teachings in similar fashion for posterity. Thus Rūmī was persuaded to dictate his Mathnavī to usām al-Dīn, who transcribed the text and read it back to his master for correction. The final product is substantial, six books totaling almost thirty thousand verses. Several of Rūmī's lesser worksletters, discourses, and sermonshave been preserved as well.

Whereas ʿAār's works, especially his mathnavī s, are noted for their clear structural development, those of Rūmī resemble more the stream-of-consciousness style. One must be steeped in Rūmī's work before daring to analyze his thought.

The statement is often made that Rūmī's Mathnavī is the Qurʾān of the Persians. While the main point is the enormous popularity the text has had, and continues to have, in the Persian-speaking world, there is another level on which the comparison is apt. The Qurʾān communicates itself primarily in individual, sometimes self-contained, units, not as a structured whole. Similarly, many segments of the Mathnavī have an internal unity of their own. Yet the sections of the text are strung loosely together like a string of pearls of different sizes, shapes, and hues. Themes appear and disappear, only to be addressed again from a different perspective. To seek out a unifying structural element in the Mathnavī is perhaps to do an injustice to the intent of the author. Its appeal lies in its fluidity and allusiveness. True, this can be frustrating at times; frustration, however, soon turns to fascination as the reader is lured once again into the complex web of Rūmī's thought.

Gnosis and Ibn ʿArabĪ

The history of mysticism in Islam is replete with individuals of brilliance and creativity. Among these exceptional personalities, however, one stands out from the rest because of his unique genius. Abū Bakr Muammad ibn al-ʿArabī al-ātimī al-āʾī was born at Murcia in Muslim Spain in 1165. He is honored with the titles "Al-Shaykh Al-Akbar" ("doctor maximus" ) and "Muyī al-Dīn" ("the revivifier of religion"). Eventually he came to be known under the name Muyī al-Dīn ibn ʿArabī.

While still a child, Ibn ʿArabī and his family moved to Seville, where he received the greater part of his education in the traditional Islamic religious disciplines. He was greatly influenced in his spiritual development by two female ūfīs, especially Fāimah of Cordova. A great deal of his mystical insight, however, evolved from visionary experiences, the first occuring during an illness in his youth. Throughout his life he continued to have visions on which he placed a great deal of reliance.

Ibn ʿArabī's visionary bent is equally evident in his claim to have been initiated into Sufism by the mythic figure Khir, a mysterious being, said to be immortal, associated with a Qurʾānic fable (sūrah 18) and pre-Islamic legends. Khir is renowned in Sufism as a saint and guide of exceptional spiritual power; to be chosen as one of his disciples is a rare privilege.

In his early twenties Ibn ʿArabī traveled extensively throughout Spain and North Africa and broadened his intellectual perspectives. He describes a unique meeting in Cordova with the greatest of the Muslim Aristotelian philosophers, Ibn Rushd (known as Averroës in the Latin West). The encounter is heavy with symbolism, for Ibn Rushd represents the total reliance of philosophers on reason (ʿaql), while Ibn ʿArabī champions gnosis (maʿrifah) as the only means to experience the fullness of truth.

In 1201 Ibn ʿArabī left Spain and North Africa for the last time, undertaking travels that brought him to many important centers of Islamic learning. In 1223 he settled in Damascus, where he remained until his death in 1240. His mausoleum continues to be an important pilgrimage center.

Ibn ʿArabī is unique because he was both an original thinker and synthesizer. Many of his ideas resonate with earlier intellectual developments in Sufism and in philosophical theology. His greatness, however, lies in his ability to systematize ūfī theory into a coherent whole with solid metaphysical underpinnings. Ibn ʿArabī, therefore, should not be viewed as an eccentric outside of the mainstream, but rather as the genius who was able to gather together various strains of mystical philosophy and to mold them into an esthetic whole.

The corpus of Ibn ʿArabī's work is massive, which complicates considerably any attempt at a comprehensive analysis of his thought. In addition his style is often dense, reflecting the esoteric nature of his ideas. Two of his most influential works are Al-futūat al-makkīyah (The Meccan revelations), which he was ordered to write in a visionary experience while on pilgrimage, and Fuūs al-ikam (The bezels of wisdom).

Wadat al-Wujūd

The central concept in Ibn ʿArabī's system is wadat al-wujūd, "unity of being." Scholars have debated whether Ibn ʿArabī intends this term to describe a monist system, where nothing exists but the One. An affirmative response does not indicate, however, a dramatic shift in Muslim metaphysics because, in reality, Ibn ʿArabī is only taking the Ashʿarī synthesis to its logical extreme. The Ashʿarī insistence on God's total omnipotence and control over the universe implies that God is the only true agent. It is not illogical, therefore, to suggest, as Ibn ʿArabī does, that God must also be the only true existent.

The divine essence in itself is completely transcendent; it is, in fact, unknowable, the lā ilāha ("there is no god") of the Muslim confession of faith. This plane of unconditioned unity (aadīyah ), however, is not the only plane on which divine reality exists. The plane of oneness (wāidīyah ) is characterized by a unity in plurality, a unity in which the qualities of all possible existents reside. Once again the ultimate solution is paradox. The divine is undifferentiated and totally transcendent; yet in the divine are discovered the qualities of all potential beings.

Reality, therefore, is tiered, a progression of spiritual manifestations. Ultimate reality is the theos agnostos, the "unknown God," from which emerge the different planes of divine existence, culminating in the God of revelation, Allāh, the illā Allāh ("but God"), of the confession of faith. The creation of the cosmos occurs, not out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo ) as traditional Western theology would have it, but because of the yearning of the unknown God to escape from isolation. A adīth dear to ūfīs encapsulates God's intent: "I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known, so I created the creation in order that I might be known."

Creation, therefore, is the manifestation of the One in the plurality of created beings. God's sigh of longing breathes forth the universe, the mirror in which he comes to know himself. The agency through which the cosmos is produced is the divine creative imagination. The process is not static but dynamic, for in the same way that God exhales, he inhales, drawing creation back to its source in the One. Gnosis for the ūfī, therefore, entails progress along the path from illusion (the naive conviction that he is an independent reality distinct from God) to insight into creation's identification with God's self-revelation.

The Perfect Human Being

The mirror that the One projects forth is not uniformly polished. The created being in which the Absolute becomes most fully conscious of itself is man. And there is in every generation al-insān al-kāmil, the Perfect Human Being, who is the link between Absolute Being and the created realm. Through the mediacy of the Perfect Human Being the dynamic process of emanation and return takes place. In fact, the process would be impossible without that being, the most perfected ūfī, the qub ("pole"), the axis around which the cosmos revolves.

Ibn ʿArabī's emanationist view of creation reinterprets, moreover, the traditional understanding of the goal of mysticism in Islam. Many early ūfīs described the path as a growth in loving union between a soul, which retains its essential independence, and the Beloved who, while being the source of creation, is distinct from it. For Ibn ʿArabī and his followers, the goal is not primarily love but wisdom, to move from the illusion of plurality to the gnostic insight that one has always been, and will continue to be, totally united with the source of all being.

Wadat al-wujūd has enormous implications, furthermore, for the ūfī understanding of human freedom and ethics. Nothing manifests itself in creation unless God wills it. This is an axiom of both Ibn ʿArabī and traditional Islam. In Ibn ʿArabī's system, the archetypes of all potential beings exist in the One. When these potential realities are actualized in the illusory realm of plurality, they function completely in accord with their celestial archetypes. In the realm of the created world, therefore, individual free choice is illusory. All change is predetermined by the archetype of the particular reality. Freedom exists only insofar as all creatures participate in the freedom of the One, with which they are ultimately identified.

Ethics, in addition, must be seen in the light of the determinative power of the celestial archetypes. In the realm of creation, the law (sharīʿah ) delineates what actions are in accord with God's revelation. From the perspective of the One, however, all actions are good since they are manifestations of the divine creative imagination and are in accord with the celestial archetypes. Culpability is relative because it is operative only in the realm of created illusion. Eventually all return to the undifferentiated One; thus there is no eternal reward or punishment in the traditional sense.

The complexity of Ibn ʿArabī's thought defies summation in a few brief paragraphs. Nor have scholars in the field yet gained sufficient mastery of his work to unravel his convoluted and sometimes contradictory ideas. What is clear, however, is the pervasive influence of Ibn ʿArabī and his school on later Sufism. Disciples such as adr al-Dīn Qūnawī (d. 1274) in Anatolia and commentators on his work such as ʿAbd al-Ramān ibn Amad Jāmi (d. 1492) in Persia disseminated his ideas throughout the Islamic world.

ŪfĪ Fraternities

The history of Sufism is much more than the history of mystical theory and expression. There is a significant social dimension to Islamic mysticism that must be explored if the picture is to be complete. Even many of the early ūfīs, individualists though they were, sought out the advice and counsel of their fellow wayfarers. From the very beginning, therefore, companionship (ubah ) was considered essential for progress in the spiritual life.

Fluid interaction among ūfīs soon evolved into the more structured relationship of master and disciple, adding a new level of social complexity. Not only would disciples visit their masters, but many also took up residence with them. The earliest formal ūfī convent seems to date from the latter part of the eighth century ce, on the island of Abadan.

Political changes in the Islamic empire contributed to the stabilization of ūfī institutional structures. In the mid-eleventh century the Seljuks wrested control of the Abbasid caliphate from the Shīʿī Buyids. The Seljuks were staunch Sunnīs who took over the religious educational system of the madrasah s in order to reindoctrinate the intelligentsia with Sunnī orthodoxy. The public support they provided for ūfī establishments afforded the Seljuks more control over the type of ūfī piety inculcated in the new recruits, but at the same time, government patronage ensured the survival of the various ūfī institutions.

By the thirteenth century, several types of ūfī establishments had evolved, each with a different general purpose. The ribā was a residence or training center, which originated in the Arab regions of the empire. Khānqāhs were similar establishments rooted in the more persianized environment of Khorasan; they eventually spread, however, into the Arab centers. The more serious training took place in the zāwīyah s, which usually housed a teaching shaykh; khalwah is the name given to the retreat of a single ūfī or dervish. (Dervish is derived from the Persian word for ūfī, darvīsh, "poor," "beggar.")

More important than the physical environment in which ūfīs congregated is the evolving infrastructure of the ūfī communities themselves. In the eleventh century, fluid organizations continued to predominate; their common link was the desire for ubah and for the guidance of a shaykh. Frequently, a master and his disciples remained a cohesive social unit only until the death of the master, after which the group disbanded.

By the thirteenth century the situation had altered significantly. Many ūfī groups became self-perpetuating social organizations whose central focus was the founder and his teaching. No longer was the survival of the group dependent on a particular living shaykh; authority was passed from shaykh to disciple, thus providing a stable structural basis for the continued growth and development of the community. The new master was the chief custodian of the founder's spiritual legacy and, on occasion, an innovator in his own right.

Silsilahs

These stable social organizations came to be called arīqah s ("ways"), known in English as ūfī orders, fraternities, or brotherhoods. Each founding shaykh had his silsilah ("chain"), his spiritual lineage which contributed substantially to his stature in the ūfī community. The silsilah is, more precisely, a genealogy, tracing the names of one's master, of one's master's master, and so on back through history. Often a prominent shaykh would have been initiated more than once, by a number of illustrious ūfīs, thus adding additional stature to his spiritual pedigree.

There are two main silsilah groups, which later subdivided into literally hundreds of ūfī fraternities. The first chain, generally considered the more sober of the two, traces its links back to Abū al-Qāsim al-Junayd, the famed spiritual guide from whom al-allāj eventually broke away. The second, and more intoxicated, silsilah derives from the first great ūfī ecstatic, Abū Yazīd al-Bisāmī. These designations are very general, and membership in either group indicates only a spiritual genealogy, not necessarily an actual attitude toward mystical experience.

The members of the Bisāmī branch are often called Malāmati, "blameworthy." The appellation, however, can be overstressed, for it does not mean that they scorned Islamic law. On the contrary, many were meticulous in their observance. But eventually the name came to describe, in broad terms, those ūfīs who eschewed completely all of the public trappings of Sufism and of piety in general; they were characterized by the virtue of absolute sincerity (ikhlā ). The Malāmatīyah rejected ūfī initiation and the guidance of a shaykh, nor would they engage in public devotional practices common to ūfīs. Whatever ritual acts they performed were carried out in private. Their individualism made them appear to some as suspicious and marginal. The Malāmatīyah, nevertheless, should be clearly distinguished from the Qalandarīyah, or wandering dervishes, many of whom did engage in practices that made mockery of the religious law and of traditional morality.

The centrality of silsilah s in ūfī fraternities is not completely unique. One discovers an analogous emphasis in the adīth literature, where the literary structure of a adīth has two parts: the chain of transmitters (isnād) and the body of the text (matn ). According to Muslim tradition, the authenticity of the adīth is guaranteed by the reliability of the isnād. In the same way that the power of sacred word in the adīth has been preserved by the chain of transmitters, so too do the teachings and powers of a particular shaykh remain alive through his silsilah.

Whether or not the isnād s are historically reliable is not a question that need be discussed here. Suffice it to say that the importance of isnād s for Muslims is to ground adīth s solidly in the period of the original revelation. Thus there can be no question that the teachings of the adīth s are innovations; rather adīth s are but more detailed insights into God's will already expressed in general terms in the Qurʾān.

In similar fashion the silsilah s of ūfī shaykhs provide them with religious legitimacy. Even though the ūfī orders may vary considerably in their teachings and attitudes toward mystical experience, they each can claim, through their spiritual genealogies, to be solidly based upon the foundations of Sufism.

Veneration of saints

The institutionalization of arīqah s and the emphasis on silsilah s enhanced substantially the religious and political position of the master. Whereas in the past the shaykh functioned primarily as an expert and confidant, he now became a repository of spiritual power as well. A shaykh's lineage did not provide simply a list of teachers; it implied that the spiritual power of each of these great ūfīs had been transmitted to this last member of the line.

The shaykhs of the great ūfī orders, therefore, took on superhuman qualities. They became known as awliyāʾ (sg., walī ), intimates or friends of God. Their spiritual perfection raised them far above the level of their disciples and of the masses of Muslim faithful. The spread of Ibn ʿArabī's teaching, particularly the notion of the Perfect Human Being, which was elaborated upon by Ibn ʿArabī's intellectual disciples, especially by ʿAbd al-Karīm ibn Ibrāhīm al-Jīlī (d. 1428), provided an intellectual framework within which to explain this cosmic role of the saintlike shaykh. Many of the shaykhs of important orders were acknowledged by their followers as the qub, the "pole" or "axis" around which the cosmos revolves, the Perfect Human Being, the point at which the divine Creative Imagination most fully manifests itself in the world of illusion. The fact that a number of individuals claimed this status at one and the same time was cause for a certain amount of friction and rivalry among the powerful fraternities.

The concept of qub is linked by Ibn ʿArabī and his predecessors with a whole hierarchy of cosmic beings. Al-Hujwīrī describes them as the officers of the divine court, made up of three hundred akhyār ("excellent ones"), forty abdāl ("substitutes"), seven abrār ("piously devoted ones"), four awtād ("pillars"), three nuqabāʾ ("leaders"), and one qub (known also as ghawth, "succor"). Ibn ʿArabī's hierarchy is somewhat different in structure. The qub is joined by two aʾimmah ("guides"), four awtād, seven abdāl, twelve nuqabāʾ, and eight nujabāʾ ("nobles"). The cosmic hierarchy, regardless of its particular description, is the spiritual power through which the order and continued existence of the cosmos are ensured.

The term walī is often translated as saint; this is misleading because there is no religious hierarchy in Islam empowered to canonize individuals as saints, as one has, for example, in Roman Catholicism. Rather, the status of walī is attained through public acclamation. There are, nevertheless, analogies between Christian saints and Muslim awliyāʾ, insofar as both possess spiritual power that is capable of being transmitted to disciples or devotees. In Islam this power is called barakah ("blessing"). The barakah of a wali has the potential to transform an individual spiritually as well as to provide concrete material blessings. Barakah should be understood as concretely as possible. It is often transmitted through the power of touch, similar to the laying on of hands or the application of relics, practices common in other religious traditions of the West.

The perfected shaykhs are objects of veneration both during their lives and after their deaths. It is generally accepted that they possess the power of miracles (karāmāt ), although their miracles are subject to satanic influence in a way that the miracles of prophets are not. The extraordinary powers of the awliyāʾ are not diminished in any way after their death; on the contrary, their intercession often appears more efficacious. Consequently the tombs of great ūfī awliyāʾ are vibrant pilgrimage centers to this day.

Ritual practice

Much has been said thus far about the shaykhs of ūfī orders. What were the general patterns of life of the members of these communities? It is difficult to generalize because of the different character of the various brotherhoods. There are, however, some areas of commonality. The full members of the fraternities committed themselves in obedience to the shaykh, who initiated them into the order and bestowed upon them the patched frock (khirqah ), the sign of their entry onto the ūfī path. They were encouraged to subject themselves completely to the master's will, to be like dead bodies in the hands of the body-washers. Some members of orders remained celibate while others married; some lived lives of extreme poverty while others had a very comfortable existence. Common to most of the ūfī fraternities were ritual practices called dhikr ("remembrance") and samāʿ ("audition").

Dhikr

The impetus for the practice of dhikr is derived from those Qurʾanic verses that enjoin the faithful to remember God often. Among ūfīs this duty evolved into a complex exercise performed by an individual or group. Many fraternities put their own particular stamp on the dhikr exercise. Most dhikr techniques, however, involve the rhythmic repetition of a phrase, often Qurʾanic, in which one of the names of God appears. In Islam, Allāh has one hundred names, ninety-nine of which are known; the hundredth name is hidden. Certain ūfīs who ascribed to themselves the rank of qub claimed to have been blessed with this most precious secret.

The more sophisticated methods of dhikr usually involve breath control, body movements, and a number of other complex techniques to gain control over the five senses as well the psyche and imagination. In some ūfī groups, such as the Naqshbandīyah, dhikr is a private exercise. The goal is to move from vocal dhikr to silent dhikr, with each stage representing a more intense level of union with the Beloved until, at the final stage, dhikr moves to the innermost recesses of one's being and one can no longer distinguish between the one remembering and the Remembered.

Samāʿ

Like dhikr, samāʿ has become identified with ūfī ritual practice. It involves listening to music, usually with a group. The music is often accompanied by Qurʾān chants and/or the singing of mystical poetry. The recital is intended to spark a mystical experience within the auditors. Those most affected by the samāʿ rise up to dance in unison with the music. Depending on the ūfī group, the dance can be a marvel of aesthetic movement or the frenetic writhings of the seemingly possessed.

From its inception samāʿ has been controversial among ūfīs. No one questions the efficacy of chanting the Qurʾān. The doubts arise with music and the singing of mystical love poetry. Music and singing were considered by many shaykhs to be amoral: neither good nor evil by nature. Samāʿ possesses the power, however, to engulf the spirit of the disciples and to seduce them to immoral behavior. Consequently many shaykhs, if they approve of samāʿ at all, insist that only accomplished ūfīs be allowed to participate. Novices are warned to beware.

Dhikr and samāʿ have served an important function outside of the ranks of the full-fledged members of the ūfī orders. The theoretical developments in Sufism from the thirteenth century onward were shaped by the work of Ibn ʿArabī and his interpreters. The complex and esoteric nature of this school of ūfī thought, however, placed it far beyond the reach of most Muslims. It was the ritual exercises of the orders that helped fill the gap and minister to the immediate spiritual needs of the faithful. Thus Sufism came to represent, for many, not abstruse theory but concrete practice that was accessible to all.

The emphasis on dhikr and samāʿ has helped to blur the distinction in popular Sufism between mystical experience that is attained after serious spiritual training and experience that is self-induced. Unsophisticated sessions of dhikr and samāʿ, to this day, often consist of self-hypnosis, hysteria, drug-induced states, and other violent emotions that pass for mystical experience. Despite accusations of vulgarization, dhikr and samāʿ remain important emotional outlets in the Muslim community and are unique sociological events during which various levels of society find themselves interacting on an equal footing. And in the hands of spiritual adepts, dhikr and samāʿ remain potent tools for creating an ambiance in which to attain heightened levels of religious expe-rience.

The widespread interest in dhikr and samāʿ among the Muslim faithful has resulted in increased membership in the ūfī fraternities. These new members, however, should more properly be called affiliates. They perhaps take some training from a shaykh; their primary vehicle for contact with the group, however, is attendance at periodic sessions of dhikr and samāʿ. Otherwise they lead the normal life of a layman or woman. In parts of the Islamic world today, membership in one ūfī order or another has become for many a social obligation, even though those so affiliated have little interest in, or understanding of mysticism.

Particular orders became associated with different strata of society, geographical regions, and guilds. The Suhra-wardīyah, for example, were extremely influential in court circles in thirteenth-century Delhi, while orders such as the Bektāshīyah and Khalwatīyah in Turkey had a more popular appeal. The identification of order with social group became so complete that one could be said to be born into a particular fraternity. This did not, however, prevent an individual's eventual shift from one order to another.

The orders: individual characteristics

The role of the shaykh and the ritual exercises of dhikr and samāʿ are integral elements in almost all of the ūfī orders. The distinctive personalities of the fraternities, however, are as significant as their similar structures and practices. The contrasts are often striking. In Anatolia, for example, the Mawlawīyah (or Mevleviye) and the Bektāshīyah represent opposite ends of the spectrum.

Mawlawīyah and Bektāshīyah

The Mawlawīyah trace their silsilah to the mystic and poet Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī. Rūmī himself, however, did not establish a formal arīqah during his lifetime; rather, it was his son, Sulān Walad, who took upon himself the task of organizing the order. The Mawlawīyah are known for their aesthetic sophistication, both in ritual practice and in mystical poetry. The order's particular identity is derived, of course, from Rūmī's Mathnavī and the Divāni Shams-i Tabrīzī.

Perhaps the most famous aspect of the Mawlawīyah is its ritual samāʿ, an exquisite combination of music, poetry, and whirling dance (hence their name in the West, "Whirling Dervishes"). It is hard to capture in words the refinement of the choreography. The rhythmic, turning movements of the adepts are mesmerizing and executed with a subtle grace and precision equal to the best of European classical dance. The serene faces of the ūfīs, moreover, reflect the depth of the spiritual rapture achieved by the practitioners.

In contrast, the Bektāshīyah takes its name from a shadowy figure, ajjī Bektāsh of Khorasan (d. 1337?). At first the group was loosely organized, but by the fifteenth century it had developed a highly centralized structure. The Bektāshīyah are noted for their syncretism; the rituals and beliefs of the order represent an amalgam of Shiism, Byzantine Christianity, esoteric cults, and the like. By the end of the sixteenth century, the Bektāshīyah had become associated with the Janissary corps, an elite military unit of slave-soldiers established by the Ottoman sultan Murād I (13601389). Despite the heterodox practices of the Bektāshīyah, their identification with the powerful and much-feared Janissaries provided them with security from persecution by the orthodox religious authorities. Where the Mawlawīyah attracted a more educated elite, the Bektāshīyah appealed to the less literate masses who were fascinated with the magic-like rituals and political power.

Suhrawardīyah and Rifāʿīyah

In Iraq, as well, there arose two fraternities with diametrically opposed interpretations of religious experience. The genealogy of the Suhrawardīyah begins with Abū al-Najīb al-Suhrawardī (d. 1168), who was a disciple of Amad al-Ghazālī. Abū Najīb is the author of an important rulebook for novices, Kitāb ādāb al-muridīn (Book of the manners of the disciples). The text evinces Abū Najīb 's long experience as a director; his rules are strict and comprehensive, yet attuned to the human frailties of the young and untutored.

The fraternity that bears the name Suhrawardi was founded by Abū al-Najīb 's nephew, Shihāb al-Dīn Abū af ʿUmar al-Suhrawardī (d. 1234). Shihāb al-Dīn, the author of the extremely influential work, ʿAwārif al-maʿarif (Masters of mystical insights), is remembered in ūfī circles as a great teacher. Teaching, in fact, became a characteristic note of the fraternity. The Suhrawardīyah made significant inroads into the Indian subcontinent, where its ranks included such important figures as Bahāʾ al-Dīn Zakarīyā of Multan (d. 1268).

While the ethos of the Suhrawardīyah is characterized by serious training in the classical ūfī tradition, the Rifāʿīyah or "Howling Dervishes" focus primarily on dramatic ritual. This fraternity springs from the marshlands of southern Iraq, where its founder, Amad ibn ʿAli al-Rifāʿī (d. 1182), spent most of his life. Contemporary observers describe vividly the bizarre practices engaged in by members of the fraternity: fire-eating; piercing ears, hands, necks, and penises with iron rings; biting heads off live snakes, and so forth. Clearly the appeal of the Rifāʿīyah is primarily emotional.

Shādhilīyah

A fine example of a fraternity that responded to the religious needs of the larger community while cultivating a solid intellectual base in mystical theory is the Shādhilīyah. Abū al-asan al-Shādhilī (d. 1258) began his religious career at Tunis, where he was well known as a preacher. It was there that he founded his order in 1227. Impelled by a vision, he traveled eastward and settled eventually in Egypt, where the Shādhilīyah order came to flourish.

The most famous of the early Shādhilī shaykhs is not the founder but the third leader of the group, Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh (d. 1309). He was born in Alexandria and spent his early years in the study of adīth and the law. Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh's training in the traditional religious sciences made him wary of any involvement with Sufism. His attitude eventually mellowed, and for twelve years he placed himself under the direction of the second shaykh of the order, Abū al-ʿAbbās al-Mursī (d. 1287), whom he eventually succeeded.

Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh's writings epitomize the spirit of the Shādhilīyah order. On one hand his work is very much in the intellectual tradition of the Ibn ʿArabī school. For example his book, Laāʾif al-minan (Subtle graces), written in defense of the fraternity and its practices, emphasizes the exalted role of the shaykh as walī and qub. On the other hand, the true genius of Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh is most evident in his collected aphorisms, the ikam (Maxims). They remain to this day one of the most popular ūfī texts in the Islamic world. Combining the erudition of the scholar with the vibrant, persuasive language of the enthusiast, Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh succeeds in communicating complex ideas in a way that is accessible to a wide range of individuals. Like the Munājāt of ʿAbd Allāh Anarī, the ikam of Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh must be savored time and time again, for their richness seems almost inexhaustable.

In the same way that Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh, through his writings, made the Sufism of the orders more accessible to larger numbers of Muslims, his fraternity as a whole adopted a structural form more in tune with the lives of the laity. Whereas some brotherhoods insisted on the abandonment of one's profession and even of family life, the Shādhilīyah allowed its members to remain involved in the secular world. In this respect, they were precursors of a similar development in the Christian West, when, in the sixteenth century, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, whose members contrary to traditional monastic structures, were intent on fostering contemplatio in actione, contemplation while remaining fully involved in the secular world. Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh's ikam has a place of honor in Islamic spirituality equal to that of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises in Christianity.

There is not sufficient space to describe even briefly all of the great arīqah s that have become part of mainstream Sufism since the thirteenth century. The Qādirīyah, whose eponymous founder, ʿAbd al-Qādir Jīlāni (d. 1116), is perhaps the most widely revered saint in all of Islam; the Naqshbandīyah, whose stern Sunnī spirit, disseminated in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, has spawned political movements and great poets such as Mīr Dard (d. 1785); the music-loving Chishtīyah, Kubrawīyah, and so forthall have played pivotal roles in the formation of Islamic religious life.

Decline of the orders

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, have not been kind to Sufism, especially the Sufism of the orders. A number of factors contributed to the decline: the general secularization of world culture; colonialism, with its concomitant critique of Islamic religion and society; the response of Islamic modernism; and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

The changing political climate had profound effects on the ūfī orders. In Turkey, for example, they were abolished by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1925 because they represented to him all that was corrupt and backward about Islam. Atatürk was in the process of transforming Turkey into a modern nation state from the rubble of the Ottoman empire. The traditional power of the ūfī shaykhs and orders was incompatible with nationalism; the orders, therefore, were eliminated as public institutions.

At times, however, the orders were not victims of political change but its instigators. The Tijānīyah of West Africa and the Sanūsīyah of North Africa are prime examples. The Tijānīyah were militant revivalists. They fought bravely against the French in West Africa and eventually established a kingdom of their own during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

The Sanūsīyah were similarly fundamentalist and militant. For decades they were at odds with Italian colonial power in North Africa. As a counterbalance they sided with the British who eventually invested the shaykh of the Sanūsīyah with authority in the region. The transformation of the shaykh into king of Libya and the accompanying solidification of political power eventually led to the decline of the Sanūsīyah as a ūfī movement.

Despite the fact that many nineteenth- and twentieth-century ūfī groups reflected fundamentalist tendencies, they still became the objects of attack by the ultra-orthodox, of whom the Wahhābīyah of Saudi Arabia are but one example. Among such groups, any ritual practice not explicitly sanctioned by religious law is anathema. The very premise on which Sufism is based, namely union with God, is rejected as un-Islamic. One sees today in many of the most vibrant Islamic revivalist movements a similar tendency to espouse the most puritanical forms of literalist religion. In such a world Sufism has little place.

In the Indian subcontinent, the involvement of many hereditary pirs (i.e., shaykhs) with Sufism has been based, in the modern period, more on family status, wealth, and influence than on any serious interest in mysticism. A backlash was inevitable. Muhammad Iqbal, one of the fathers of modern Muslim intellectual life in the subcontinent, rejected Sufism because of the corruption he perceived. He also reacted strongly against the ūfī doctrine of wadat al-wujūd, because it entailed the negation of the self: If the self is nonexistent, why confront the problems of human existence? Nevertheless, his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, published in 1930, reflects ūfī emphases on interiority, although his goal was to reinterpret Islam in humanistic terms that harmonized the spiritual and material realms of existence.

Attacks on Sufism are not new; they have occurred throughout the history of the tradition. The dramatic decline of Sufism in the modern period, however, is due as much to external as to internal forces. The intimate contacts between the Islamic world and the European West resulted in virulent critiques of Islamic religious practice, especially devotionalism. Muslim reactions were varied: Some accepted the critique and mimicked Western secular societies (Atatürk's Turkey, for example); some reasserted their identity by returning to what was believed to be true Islam, devoid of ūfī accretions (the Wahhābīyah, for example); others, such as the Muslim modernist Muhammad ʿAbduh and his successors, proposed various more moderate plans for the adaptation of Muslim society to the demands of the modern world.

All of these responses, however, possessed anti-ūfī elements, for most rejected ūfī ritual practice and devotionalism as either non-Muslim or antimodern. Moreover, the power of the ūfī shaykhs over masses of the faithful was seen by most to be counterproductive to modernization and to the development of a functioning secular state, for the shaykhs were often perceived as proponents of superstition, religious emotionalism, and outmoded power structures.

Mysticism in modern Islam is not an arid wasteland but rather more like a fallow field. There have been important modern teaching shaykhs such as Amad al-ʿAlawī (d. 1934), whose influence is still felt in North Africa. Moreover, the popular piety of Sufism still flourishes in many parts of the Islamic world, including North Africa, Egypt, the Indian subcontinent, and Indonesia. The great tradition of vernacular poetry, established by master artists such as the Turkish mystic Yunus Emre (d. 1321), continues to produce a rich literature. Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Indonesiaevery corner of the Islamic world has produced its local poet-saints.

Doubtless Sufism has become increasingly more identified with popular ritual practice than with formal spiritual training. The transformation of Sufism into a mass movement could not help but lead to a certain vulgarization. There continue to arise, nevertheless, individual masters whose commitment to the path is reminiscent of the great figures of the classical period. Classical ūfī literature survives because it still has the ability to touch the spirits of modern men and women. It is in this continued interaction between shaykh and murīd that hope for the future of Sufism resides.

See Also

Darwīsh; Dhikr; Folk Religion, article on Folk Islam; Ghazālī, Abū āmid al-; allāj, al-; Ibn al-ʿArabī; Madrasah; Mawlid; Miʿrāj; Nubūwah; Nūr Muammad; Rūmī, Jalāl al-Dīn; Samāʿ; ubah; arīqah; Walāyah.

Bibliography

By far the best introduction to Sufism in English is Annemarie Schimmel's Mystical Dimensions of Islam (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1975). Other introductory texts of interest are A. J. Arberry's Sufism: An Account of the Mystics of Islam (1950; reprint, London, 1979) and Reynold A. Nicholson's The Mystics of Islam (1914; reprint, London, 1963). The most astute treatment of the development of early Sufism, especially its relationship to Qurʾānic exegesis, is Paul Nwyia's Exégèse coranique et language mystique (Beirut, 1970).

There are a number of monographs dealing with one or other of the early ūfī ascetics. Margaret Smith's two works, Rābiʿa the Mystic and Her Fellow-Saints in Islam (Cambridge, 1928) and An Early Mystic of Baghdad: A Study of the Life and Teaching of ārith b. Asad Al-Muāsibi, A. D. 781A. D. 857 (1935, reprint, New York, 1973), are both excellent, as well as Nicholson's study of Abū Saʿīd ibn Abī al-Khayr in Studies in Islamic Mysticism (1921; reprint, Cambridge, 1976).

There are two excellent English translations of ūfī manuals, Nicholson's translation of al-Hujwīrī's Kashf al-Majūb: The Oldest Persian Treatise on Sufism, 2d ed. (London, 1936), and Arberry's translation of al-Kalābādhī's Kitāb al-taʿarruf under the title The Doctrine of the Sufis (Cambridge, 1935). Several chapters of Seyyed Hossein Nasr's ufi Essays (London, 1972) deal with stations and states and the master-disciple relationship.

No study of the ecstatics in Sufism is complete without Louis Massignon's extraordinary work on al-allāj, translated into English by Herbert Mason as The Passion of Al-allāj: Mystic and Martyr of Islam, 4 vols. (Princeton, N. J., 1982). Carl W. Ernst's Words of Ecstasy in Sufism (Albany, 1984) is extremely helpful as well. Reynold A. Nicholson's The Idea of Personality in Sufism (1964; reprint, Lahore, 1970) is a lucid exploration of the psychology of ecstatic utterances.

There is an excellent translation by Wheeler Thackston of Anarī's Munājāt in The Book of Wisdom and Intimate Conversations, translated and edited by Wheeler Thackston and Victor Danner (New York, 1978). The premier scholar of Anarī is Serge de Laugier de Beaurecueil, whose bibliography of Anarī provides much useful information and some fine translations: Khwādja ʿAbdullāh Anarī, 396481 H./10061089: Mystique anbalite (Beirut, 1965).

There are a number of fine translations of ʿAār's mathnavī s: The Ilāhī-nāma or Book of God, translated by J. A. Boyle (Manchester, 1976); Le livre de l'épreuve (Musībatnāma), translated by Isabelle de Gastines (Paris, 1981); and The Conference of the Birds, translated by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis (London, 1984). The best comprehensive study of ʿAār and his work remains Helmut Ritter's Das Meer der Seele (Leiden, 1955).

Henry Corbin has written extensively on Islamic gnosticism, Islamic Neoplatonism, and Ibn ʿArabī. Works such as Creative Imagination in the ūfism of Ibn ʿArabī (Princeton, N.J., 1969) demonstrate his extraordinary erudition and propose provocative syntheses that must be evaluated with care. A new translation of Ibn ʿArabī's Fuū al-ikam by R. W. J. Austin under the title The Bezels of Wisdom (New York, 1980) is excellent. Toshihiko Izutsu's comparative study of Sufism and Taoism, A Comparative Study of the Key Philosophical Concepts in Sufism and Taoism (Tokyo, 1966), also serves as an excellent introduction to Ibn ʿArabī's thought. Finally, in his Studies in Islamic Mysticism (1921; reprint, Cambridge, 1976) Reynold A. Nicholson provides a very lucid analysis of the idea of the Perfect Human Being as it originated with Ibn ʿArabī and was later developed by al-Jīlī.

The best translations of Rūmī's work are by Reynold A. Nicholson, especially The Mathnawi of Jalāluʾddin Rūmī, 8 vols. (London, 19251971). Annemarie Schimmel's The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalāloddin Rumi (London, 1978) is a solid introduction to his writings, as is William C. Chittick's The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (Albany, N.Y., 1983). Schimmel's As Through a Veil: Mystical Poetry in Islam (New York, 1982) places Rūmī in the wider context of the poetic tradition in Sufism.

There are many studies of individual ūfī orders. The best general work, however, is J. Spencer Trimingham's The Sufi Orders in Islam (New York, 1971). The role of the fraternities in the Indian subcontinent is extremely well presented in Annemarie Schimmel's Islam in the Indian Subcontinent (Leiden, 1980). An English translation by Victor Danner of Ibn ʿAāʾ Allāh's ikam can be found in Thackston and Danner's The Book of Wisdom and Intimate Conversations (cited above). A superb French translation and commentary of the same text, together with a thorough analysis of the early development of the Sha-dhilīyah can be found in Paul Nwyia's Ibn ʿAāʾAllāh et la naissance de la confrérie šādilite (Beirut, 1972). One of the more interesting treatments of a ūfī in the modern period is Martin Lings's study of the life and writings of Shaykh Amad al-ʿAlawī, A Moslem Saint of the Twentieth Century, 2d ed. (Berkeley, Calif., 1973).

Peter J. Awn (1987)

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Sufism

SUFISM

The origins of Sufism (taawwuf in Arabic), or Islamic mysticism, appear clearly in the spiritual practise of the Prophet Muhammad in seventh-century Arabia (Massignon 1954, Lings 1993). Sufism's key contemplative discipline, remembrance of God (dhikr ), was practiced continually by the Prophet and is alluded to in fifteen verses of the Qur'ān. From this practise the Sufis developed an entire science of invocations and supplications (adhkār ) designed to cultivate the heart, refine the soul, and elevate ordinary human consciousness into awareness of the ever-immanent divinity (Chittick 1987). There are nonetheless a number of formative influences on early Sufism that are extraneous to early Qur'ānic spirituality. Michael Sells (1996) has demonstrated that the heritage of pre-Islamic poetry provided numerous subthemes (for example, drunkenness, love-madness, perpetual wandering, the secret shared between lover and beloved) for later Sufi literature and poetry. Scholars such as D. Miguel Asin Palacios, Tor Andrae, Duncan Macdonald, Louis Massignon, Henry Corbin and Luce López-Baralt have revealed how some of the ascetic and mystical tendencies in early Sufism bear close resemblances to Christian mysticism, a thesis adumbrated by Tor Andrea's In the Garden of Myrtles: Studies in Early Islamic Mysticism (1987).

Qur'Ānic Origins and Formative Influences from the Seventh to Tenth Century

The word ūfī as a technical term does not itself come into use before the end of the eighth century CE. The last of the following four possible etymologies of the word (there is no consensus) reflects the relation of the movement with Greek philosophy: from Ahl-i uffa, "the People of the Veranda," the Prophet's most intimate companions in seventh-century Medina; from safā, meaning purity; from ūf, meaning wool; and from the Greek sofos, that is, sagesse, a cognate of sophia ("wisdom"). In the context of the last-cited etymology, Sufism appears to be related to Islamic "philosophy" or falsafa in Arabic, faylasf (philosopher) being the Arabic transcription of the Greek philosophos. Although the terms Sufi and Sufism are historically applicable only to the type of mystic and mysticism developed within Islam, based upon pursuit of the Prophet's exemplary practice (sunna ), it is undeniable that many of the theosophical elements in Sufism, especially as the mystical tradition changed and developed over the course of later centuries, are largely derived from Greek thought.

Mystical teachings are usually ascribed to a number of the Companions (al-aāb ) of the Prophet and their "followers" (al-tabā'iyun ) (Ernst 1999), the first and foremost being the fourth Sunni Caliph ʿAlī ibn Abī ālib (d. 661) whose sermons, letters, poems, and maxims were compiled by Sharīf al-Raī (d. 1015) in the Nahj al-balāghah. ʾAlī features as the starting-point of all the esoteric initiatic chains of Sufism, whether Sunni or Shīʿite, and is recognized as the founder of two fundamental Sufi doctrines: renunciation of the world (zuhd ) and spiritual poverty (faqr ). His possession of gnostic insight and esoteric knowledge (ʿilm-i ladunī ) is acknowledged by all Muslim theologians, Sufi mystics, and philosophers.

asan al-Barī (d. 728), the principal founder of the early ascetic movement of Islam that later became known as Sufism, is listed as Imam ʿAlī's succeeding link in most Sufi initiatic chains among the "followers" of the Prophet's "Companions."

The next most significant figure in Sufi thought is the sixth Shīʿite Imam Abū Jaʿfar al-ādiq (d. 765), the author of the earliest mystical Qur'ān commentary, described as "the soundest of all the Shaykhs, upon whom all of them rely. He is the path-master of the people of love (pīshvā-yi ahl-i 'ishq ) (ʿAttār 1993, p. 12). In fact, the love mysticism of Sufism may be traced back to both al-ādiq and to his contemporary, Rābiʿa al-Adawiyya (d. 788792), the most famous female Sufi in all history, of whom Ibn ʿArabī commented, "She is the one who analyzes and classes the categories of love to the point of being the most famous interpreter of love."

It was in the ninth century, when Greek philosophy was being introduced into Islam and when all the technical vocabulary of philosophy and theology in the Arabic language was being fashioned, that most of the basic technical terms, concepts, and categories of Sufism were also elaborated. It was probably in response to the Neoplatonic philosophers of the "School of Baghdad" (revolving around Caliph al-Ma'mūn, who supported the translation of Greek works into Arabic and Syriac) that the Sufis of the ninth century first began to use the term mystical knowledge (or maʿrifat ) instead of rational knowledge (or ʿilm ) to refer to the type of experiential, gnostic knowledge they possessed, in order to distinguish it from the mental, purely theoretical knowledge of their contemporaries, the Neoplatonists. (Danner 1987, p. 254).

It is not mere historical coincidence that both of these celebrated Schools of Baghdadthat of the philosophers and that of the Sufisevolved at exactly the same time and place. From the early ninth century, Muslim Peripatetic philosophy and Sufi mysticism shared a common psychological vocabulary simultaneously fed by the two streams of Qur'ānic spirituality and Greek philosophical writings, which had been translated into Arabic. Although the intellectual contexts and applications of this vocabulary differed greatly, the lexicon of both was often identical; a huge stream of common terms flowed through both systems from the two sources. For instance, in psychology, both Sufi mystics and Peripateric philosophers shared a common terminology: for soul, nafs ; for spirit, rū; for heart, qalb, for phantasy, wahm ; for imagination, khiyāl; for reason, ʿaql. While all these terms also figure prominently in the Qur'ān, they were corralled and culled as suitable translations (as Harry Wolfson [1935] established in a seminal article) by Muslim thinkers such as al-Farabi, Avicenna, and Ghazālī.

In the ninth century three mystics were of primary importance for the development of Sufi esoteric and mystical terminology. The first two are vaunted for their role in the development of psychospiritual terminology of Sufism, whereas the third is famous for his unusual but highly influential mystical theology. All three affected the formulation of Sufi philosophy, if philosophia is understood in its literal sense as love of divine wisdom.

The first figure was al-arīth al-Muāsibi (d. 857), who lived and taught in Baghdad. From the standpoint of formulation of mystical doctrine, psychological examination of the spiritual life, and authorship of definitive textbooks on both subjects, he was indubitably the most illustrious Sufi of the ninth century. As "the real master of primitive Islamic mysticism," as Margaret Smith put it, most later elaboration and exposition of Sufi technical terminologysuch as self-examination (muāsaba ), contemplation (muraqaba ), fear (khawf ), hope (raja' ), patience (abr ), contentment (riā' )can be traced back to terminology that first appeared in his works.

The second figure, Dhū'l-Nūn al-Mirī (d. 861), "the founder of theosophical Súfiism," as Nicholson (1906) rightly calls him, played a formative role in the evolution of Sufi doctrine. He had been the first to provide a systematic teaching about the mystical states and spiritual stations (awāl u maqāmāt ) of Sufism and was also the first to discourse on mystical knowledge, or maʿrifat, and to distinguish it from academic knowledge, or ʿilm. He was also founder of the practice and theory of the "art of audition to music" and the first to describe in poetic detail the types of "ecstatic rapture" (samāʿ and wajd ), which ensued from this aesthetic tool of contemplative vision. He was the also the first mystic to use the imagery of the wine of love and cup of mystical of gnosis poured out for the lover (Smith 1991).

However, it was the third figure, Abū Yazīd (or Bāyazīd) Bisāmī (d. 848 or 875), who personified the Muslim mystic par excellence and who served as the real cornerstone of the free-spirited classical Sufism of later generations. He is the most frequently cited mystic in Sufi poetry. Bāyazīdian Sufism still represents the zenith of anticlerical thinking in Islam. His paradoxical utterances (he wrote nothing down), transmitted by word of mouth by disciples, soon became the subject of intricately argued prose commentaries and complicated Sufi metaphysical compositions in prose and verse. A century after his death, a separate Bāyazīdian school came into being; some two centuries later this school's contours became intellectually formalized in ʿAlī Hujwīrī's (d. 1071) Kashf al-majūb, a Persian manual of Sufi teachings and doctrine, in which Bāyazīd's followers are classified as comprising a separate school of thought known as the ayfūriyya and described as advocates of rapture (ghalabat ) and intoxication (sukr ) as opposed to Junayd's School of Sobriety (saw ). Of particular importance in Sufi philosophy is Bāyazīd's doctrine of fanāʾ, or annihilation, of the selfhood or individual ego identity in God's Self-identity, enabling the mystic to contemplate God directly through God's own eye (Rūzbihān 1966, p. 115).

Aside from these three key Sufis, there were a number of other significant mystics in the history of ninth-century Sufism, most notably akīm al-Tirmidhī (d. 908), from the Transoxanian town of Tirmirdh, one of the most interesting and prolific authors to write on themes such as sanctity and prophethood. His works became the subject of commentaries by later Sufis such as Ibn ʿArabī.

The main center for the development of Sufi doctrine in the ninth and tenth centuries was Khurāsān, in northern Iran, and the city of Nishāpūr, which, following the fall of Baghdad to the Buwayhids in 945, became the center of Sunni Islam for the next two centuries. Nishāpūr was the center of the antiascetic Sufi school of the Malāmatiyya (lovers of blame), whose masters enjoined their students to practice psychological introspection into the blemishes of the "lower soul" (nafs ), or ego, and to expose their personal faults in public. Its central teacher, Abū af addād (d. 874879), advocated opening oneself to public blame, concealing all one's own praiseworthy virtues from public scrutiny while accusing oneself of spiritual shortcomings. Its two other main representatives in Nishāpūr, Hamdūn al-Qaār (d. 884) and Abū 'Uthmān al-īrī (d. 910), were famous for nonconformist mysticism: Qaār criticized as egotistical those who overtly perform dhikr, and al-īrī reproached as hypocritically impious those who engaged in acts of devotion with any degree of awareness of self.

Three important developments in Sufisminstitutional, aesthetic and pedagogicaltook place in Nishāpūr at the end of the ninth century. Regarding the institutional developments, Margaret Malamud (1977) and Jacqueline Chabbi (1994) have shown that, in the early ninth century, some of the earliest Sufi khānaqāh s (meeting houses) were established in Nishāpūr. Abū Saʿīd Abī'l-Khayr (9671049) was the first person to formalize a program for institutional and communal living of disciples, codifying rules for novices in his Sufi khānaqāh. In mystical aesthetics, Abū Saʿīd is significant for having definitively integrated the practice of "audition to poetry with music" (al-samāʿ ) into the Sufi devotional life. He pioneered the expression of mystical ideas in Persian verse, using the quatrain form (rubāʿī ), in which he was the chief forerunner of Sanāʾī, ʿAār, and Rūmī (Graham 1999).

Fritz Meier (1999) has shown how a radical transformation in Sufism took place in Nishāpūr regarding the theory of pedagogy and practice of the master-disciple relationship from end of the late ninth century onwards. The spiritual master, who had formerly figured merely as an academic instructor of a group of students, now became the main fulcrum of the via mystica. He was transformed into a spiritual trainer of adepts, a saint in whom the studentnow discipleis obliged to confide with childlike trust his inmost thoughts and grant unquestioning obedience, considering him as the absolute authority and ultimate judge in all matters. By the eleventh century, this aristocratic Nishāpūrian model of the spirituality came to prevail throughout the Sufi tradition worldwide.

The leader and founder of the other important mystical school of Sufism, which was centred in Baghdad, was Abū'l-Qāsim Junayd (d. 910), who perfected Muāsibī's orthodox teachings and utilized his terminology. Junayd's translation of Bāyazīd's sayings from Persian into Arabic and commentary on them were preserved in Abū Nar Sarrāj al-usī's (d. 378/988) Illumination of Sufism (Kitāb al-luma' fī'l-taawwuf ), "the oldest surviving general account of Sufism" (Arberry 1950). Junayd elaborated Bāyazīd's doctrine of fanā' in depth and detail, careful to guard against the negative consequences of the doctrine, which, superficially considered, might be interpreted by Sufism's enemies as either a kind of an ontological nihilism or else a subjective interiorised pantheism; he thus rejected both the doctrine of ulūl ("incarnationism," whereby God infuses himself in man as one substance into another) and iiād ("unitive absorption" of the individual's finite selfhood in God). Junayd's sober integration of the theosophical teachings of Sufism with Islamic legalism constitutes the basis for the orthodox understanding of Sufism down to the present day.

Because of the century and city (Baghdad) in which he flourished, Junayd was highly influenced by the school of Islamic Neoplatonism that had been established there. The theory of Al-Fārābī (d. 950), known as the "second teacher" (al-muʿallim al-thānī ) after Aristotle, was that religions constitute elaborate symbol systems to be interpreted by an elite group of sages. This rationalist esotericism found a fit gnostic reprise in Junayd's use of mystical terminology that employed Sufi symbolic sayings couched in an enigmatic and hermetic writing style (ishārāt ). A comparison of Junayd's basic concepts (as Ali Hassan Abdel-Kader [1976] has shown) with those of Plotinusthe stages of the mystical path, the doctrine of the preexistence and postexistence of the soul, the theory of contemplation (mushāhada ), and the idea that mundane beauty stimulates the longing of the soul for its home Yonderreveals Junayd's intellectual fraternity with the great pagan philosopher of late antiquity.

Junayd's school of sobriety stands in contrast to the boldly unconventional mystical theology of his most celebrated contemporary, the great martyr of Sufism Manūr al-allāj (d. 922), to whose life and thought Louis Massignon consecrated a huge four-volume monograph, La Passion de Husayn Ibn Manūr allāj: martyr mystique de l'Islam (1982). As Massignon (1986) pointed out, allāj figures as a precursor of Ghazālī in his endeavor to bring dogma into harmony with Greek philosophy on the basis of mystic experience. allāj was a disciple of Sahl ibn 'Abd Allāh Tustarī (d. 896), famed for his esoteric Qur'ānic exegesis. Tustarī identified "the search for knowledge" (alab al-'ilm ) as incumbent upon all Muslims with mystical feeling and spiritual consciousness ('ilm al-l ). He defined this consciousness as the deep-felt realization that God is the witness (shahid ) of the devotee's thoughts, words, and deeds, which, with practice, can be transmuted into realized sapience or existential verification of knowledge (taqīq al-ʿilm ).

At least two key philosophical doctrines in Sufism are traceable to allāj: first, the idea of Love (ʿishq ) as "essential desire" (that is, human erotic aspiration as identical with the divine Essence), which allāj's follower Abū al-asan al-Daylamī (tenth century), was first to attribute to him in the Kitāb ʿaf al-alif al-maʾlūf ʿalāʾl-lām al-maʿūf (The book of the inclination of the familiar alif toward the inclined lam), the first book on mystical love in Islam which drew on Sufism, philosophy, and Arabic court culture (adab ). allāj's controversial usage of the Arabic ʿishq (passionate love) for the human-divine relationship has startling similarities to the objections raised by Christian theologians against the use of the Platonic eros and the Latin amor as equivalents to the Pauline agape. Ibn Sīnā's (Avicenna, d. 1037) philosophical conception of love (ʿishq ) as the universal principle of being, animate and inanimate; his view of God as the First Beloved (Maʿshūq-i awwal ) who is simultaneously loved, lover, and love, is connected with allāj's theory (Anwar 2003, Ernst 1994). Second, allāj's conception of divine union as embodying realization of the essential oneness or unification of the human spirit with God (ʿayn al-jamʿ ) was expressed notably in his shocking theopathic locution Anā al-aqq ("I am God"), for utterance of which he was martyred.

During the tenth century Persian mystics continued to compose manuals and systematic treatises on Sufism in Arabic: Abū Bakr Muammad al-Kalābādhī (1989) (d. 990, a native of Bukhara) wrote his pioneering Introduction to the Creed of the Sufis (Kitāb al-taʿarruf li-madhhab ahl al-taawwuf ), an important introduction toand integration of Islamic exotericism withSufism. In this work he prudently avoided any mention of allāj, still considered a heretic by the jurists. Another Sufi scholar, Abū Nar Sarrāj (d. 988) from Khurasan, wrote "the oldest surviving general account of Sufism" (Arberry 1950, p. 67). Illumination of Sufism (Kitāb al-luma' fi'l-taawwuf ). One of allāj's masters, Abū ālib al-Makkī (d. 996), composed the most celebrated Sufi textbook of the Baghdad School entitled The Food of Hearts (Qūt al-qulūb ), which anticipated the reconciliation of mystical and legalistic Islam that would later appear in Ghazālī's works.

AbŪ Āmid Al-GhazĀlĪ's Attack on Philosophy and the Renaissance of Sufism in the Twelfth Century

The birth of Islam's greatest mystical theologian, Abū āmid al-Ghazālī (in ūs in Khurasan in 1058) occurred at the peak of the arch of the development of Islamic mystical tradition in eleventh-century Khurasan, at the precise cusp where one half of the tangent of the Persian-Arabic mystical tradition, buttressed by the rise of Arabic mystical literature (mostly composed by Persian Sufis), faced the other half of the arch's tangent, the first beginnings of Sufi literature in Persian. The two pillars of this arch were, respectively, the malāmātī Sufism of Abū Saʿīd Abī'l-Khayr and the Hellenistic philosophy of Abū ʿAlī Sīnā (Avicenna)who, being affected and profoundly influenced the Sufism of his day, wrote a number of visionary works in Arabic (and the earliest philosophical work in Persian) that provided the speculative premises for the development of the love mysticism espoused by the later Persian Sufi poets.

So it is on the foundation of the Persian Sufi tradition that Ghazālī's theological achievement rests. Nearly all the major founders of Khurasani Sufism flourished during Ghazālī's era, having been born either in decades immediately before or after his birth. These included the likes of Abū 'Abd al-Ramān al-Sulamī (d. 1021), one of the main chroniclers of early Sufism, best known for his Arabic tract The Generations of Sufis (abaqāt as-ūfiyya ), a compendium of the biographies of Sufis of five earlier generations that is a fundamental source for early Sufi history. 'Abd Allāh Anārī (d. 1089) of Heart, the leading stylist of Persian rhyming prose, translated and adapted Sulamī's tract into a Khurasanian dialect of New Persian. Almost as important as Sulamī's abaqāt is the best compendium of early Sufi doctrine, namely the Treatise (Risāla ) on Sufism in Arabic by Abū'l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī (d. 1072) of Nishāpūr. All of these sources Ghazālī read and knew and often reproduced them verbatim in his works.

In his autobiography, Al-Munqidh min al-alāl, Ghazālī records how he investigated the truth claims and methods advanced by four different schools of thought: scholastic theology (Kalām ), Isma'ili pedagogy (taʿlīm ), philosophy (falsafa ), and Sufism (taawwuf ); he concluded that the Sufi way is the highest and most perfect of them. The distinguishing dimension of Sufi teaching, he asserted, was that "it was not apprehended by study, but only by immediate experience (dhawq,literally "tasting"), by ecstasy, and by a moral change. (Mā lā yumkin al-wuūl ilayih bā'l-taʿallum bul bā'l-dhawq wa'l-āl wa tabaddal al-afāt.) I apprehended that the Sufis were men who had real experiences, not men of words (arbāb al-awāl, lā aāb al-aqwāl )." The unstated implication of the Sufi experience was that it allowed the adept, without recourse to either theology or philosophy, to personally verify and partially access the experience of prophecy (Hodgson 1977). Ghazālī's approach to prophecy accorded with Avicenna's view of the faculty of intuition and imagination possessed by certain adept Sufis that enabled them to have access to illumination of the active intelligence (Griffel 2002). He believed that only the science of disclosure (ʿilm al-mukāshafa ) allowed one to "gain knowledge of the meaning of prophecy and the prophet, and of the meaning of revelation" (al-way ) (Heer 1999, p. 247 and Ghazālī 1962, p. 47), which led to the privileging of esoteric visionary thinking in later Islamic epistemology.

Ghazālī consecrated two works to the Neo-Platonic philosophers, al-Fārābī and Avicenna in particular. The first of these works was his Objectives of the Philosophers (Maqāid al-falāsifa ); written in Arabic, it closely followed Avicenna's Persian work Dānish-nāma 'Alālī, providing an overall account of the history of Muslim philosophy and a lucid exposition of the philosophical doctrines that he later means to criticize. The second work, The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahāfut al-falāsifa ), was a decisive attack on the emanative metaphysics, causal theory, and the psychology of the philosophers (especially Avicenna); in this work he sets out to prove that the philosophers are unable to prove religious truths from a theoretical point of view.

Modern scholars disagree about Ghazālī's contribution to the development of later Islamic philosophy. Lenn Goodman (1992), Ahmed El-Ehwany (1995), and Fazlur Rahman (2000) view his emphasis on Sufism as fettering philosophic method and stifling the development of science in Islam, whereas M. Hodgson (1977), S. H. Nasr, and Henry Corbin (1996) perceive his contribution as having provided an excellent philosophical basis for the rise of later Islamic intellectual mysticism (ikmat and ʿirfān ). Although it is true that Ghazālī's Tahāfut put later Islamic philosophy on the defensive, his reinterpretion of falsafa made philosophical ideas more accessible in the Islamic intellectual milieu than they had previously been and provided a necessary niche for philosophy to flourish in orthodox Islamic theological thought. Because Sufi theories of knowledge took center stage in his epistemological thinking, from the post-Ghazālī period in Islam down to early modern times, esoteric modes of expression invariably came to enjoy great popularity. Ghazālī believed the sapience of the heart (dhawq ) to be superior to rational knowledge (ʿilm ) and thought that gnosis (maʿrifat ) could be obtained by means of the Sufi practices of remembrance of God and contemplation (al-dhikr wa'l-fikr ), visionary unveiling (kashf ) and abstaining from all but God Almighty. In this respect, his views are identical to those of Ibn ʿArabī a century later, whose writings on these subjects closely resemble Ghazālī's.

His most important composition was a monumental opus divided into forty books entitled Iyā' 'ulūm al-dīn (The Revivification of the Sciences of Religion ), which, in its day, was unique in its cosmopolitan scope and integration of technical terminology, ideas, and writings derived from diverse sources. The Iyā', a highly successful attempt to revive Islamic faith and piety on the basis of Sufism, had a profound impact on the later Islamic theological tradition. It began, in fact, what has been described as "the thirteenth-century revival of Sufism" (Danner 1988) and "the reorientation of the piety of Islam on the basis of Sufism." Because of men such as Ghazālī, Sufism became "acceptable to the 'ulama ' themselves," so that "gradually Sufism, from being one form of piety among others, and by no means the most accepted one either officially or popularly, came to dominate religious life not only within the Jama'i-Sunni fold, but to a lesser extent even among Shi'is" (Hodgson 1977, 2:203).

Mention here must be made of an equally important figure in the history of Sufism, namely Ghazālī's brother Amad Ghazālī (d. 1126), who was the foremost metaphysician of love in the Sufi tradition (Lombard 2003). His impact on the later Persian Sufi tradition was even more profound than that of his brother the theologian. Amad was the teacher of two important figures in particular: Abū'l-Najīb al-Suhrawardī (d. 1168) (Pourjavady 2001), who was in turn the master of his nephew Shihāb al-Dīn Abū af 'Umar Suhrawardī (d. 1234), the founder of the Suhrawardī order (famed as the "Mother of Sufi Orders"), who also authored the 'Awārif al-maʿārif, a manual of Sufism so fundamental and all-encompassing that it was translated and adapted into Persian several times and taught throughout madrasas and khānaqāh s in the Indian subcontinent for centuries afterward. Amad Ghazālī was also the master of the enigmatic mystical theologian and founder of Sufi speculative metaphysics: 'Ayn al-Quāt al-Hamadhānī (executed in 1132 by fanatical Muslim clerics for his uncompromising Sufi beliefs).

Illuminationism and the Rise of the Sufi Orders

In terms of Islamic philosophia, the most important figure following Ghazālī was Shihāb al-Dīn Yayā Suhrawardī (born in Suhraward, in northwest Persia, in 1154 and died in Aleppo in 1191), renowned as Shaykh al-Ishrāq, the "master of illuminationist theosophy" or the "sage of the theosophy of oriental lights." He was the most significant Platonic philosopher in the Eastern lands of medieval Islam. Described by Henry Corbin (1971, p. 340) as "an irregular Sufi of no formal affiliation," Suhrawardī traced his thought back to various sources: Islamicized Peripatetic philosophers (he followed Avicenna's metaphysics in many respects), the Hermetic tradition of Egypt (Hermes, Asclepius), the pre-Islamic Persians of Mazdean Iran (Kayomarth, Kaykhusraw and Zoroaster), and Greek thought (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle). His theosophy anticipated in Islam the universalistic philosophy of fifteenth-century Renaissance Platonists such as Gemistos Pletho and Marsilio Ficino. In the world of Islam, his writings were highly influential on the intellectual development of the Neoplatonist thinkers of seventeenth-century the School of Isfahan. Despite his Peripatetic roots, Suhrawardī featured Sufis in his works, considering them to be the true philosophers of Islam. In this context, he related a dream he had had of Aristotle in which the latter identified Bāyazīd Bisāmi, Sahl Tustarī, and allāj as the highest Muslim thinkers (Walbridge 2000).

Suhrawardī's epistemology was based on Sufi visionary experience, and in his major work, the Philosophy of Oriental Illumination (ikmat al-ishrāq ), he goes to considerable lengths of philosophical argument to prove the verity of mystical intuition (kashf ). He calls this intuition "knowledge by presence" (ʿilm-i uūrī ), according to which the self can know things directly by virtue of the very presence of itself (Yazdi 1992). The doctrine of knowledge by presence is one of Suhrawardī's distinctive contributions to philosophy, and his ishrāqī theosophy generated a philosophical school that still dominates traditional schools of Iranian thought today. His influence "was greater than that of Averroes, for while the latter was largely forgotten in the Islamic world, Suhrawardī has continually attracted Islamic readers, followers, and opponents up to our own day" (Walbridge 2000, p. 5).

The twelfth century was also graced by the presence of the founders of two of the most influential Sufi orders in later medieval Islam: Abū Yaʿqūb al-Hamadhānī (d. 1140), founder of the Naqshbandī order, and 'Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī (d. 1166), founder of the Qādirī order. Two of the greatest poets of Persian literary history flourished in the same century. akīm ("the Sage") Sanā'ī of Ghazna (d. between 1131 and 1150) was a pioneer in the development of the gnostic ghazal and the first Persian Sufi poet to blend poetic imagery of the sacred and the profane into a refined philosophical lyricism. Sanā'ī's follower, Niāmī (d. 1202), wrote a series of unrivaled romantic epics and much mystical poetry. Another important figure is Rūzbihān Baqlī (d. 1210), whose writings constitute "a vast synthesis and rethinking of early Islamic religious thought from the perspective of pre-Mongol Sufism" (Ernst 1996), furnishing us with "a vital resource for understanding the experiential basis, not simply of Persian Sufi literature, but of Sufism and indeed mysticism in general" (Ernst 1996, p. 11). His monumental Commentary on the Paradoxes of the Sufis (Shar-i shaiyyāt ) is an indispensable source for the interpretation of the higher reaches of Sufi apophatic theology.

The most important Persian Sufi poet of the twelfth century was Farīd al-Dīn ʿAār (d. 1221), the prolific author of numerous epic Persian poetic works. His seminal masterpiece, The Conference of the Birds (Maniq al-ayr ), has been translated into most European languages. ʿAār's major prose work was the monumental compendium, in Persian, of biographies of the famous Sufis, Tadhkirat al-awliyā' (Memoirs of the Saints ).

ʿAār's contemporary was Najm al-Dīn Kubrā (d. 1221), another important figure in medieval Sufism. The founder of the Kubrawiyya, also known as the Central Asian school of Sufism, Kubrā was known for his theory of light apparitions that are beheld by the spiritual imagination in the imaginal realm (ʿālam al-mithāl ). These theories were elaborated by later Sufis of this order, who included some of the most important names of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Their interpretation of these phenomena, especially when combined with their adherence to the theomonist doctrine and technical terminology of Ibn ʿArabī, constitute one of the most important chapters in the history of Islamic mysticism.

Perhaps the most famous Kubrawī mystic was Najm al-Dīn Rāzī (d. 1256), author of the Devotees' Highroad (Mirād al-ʿibād ), an important manual of Sufi methodology in which he elaborated the peculiarly Kubrawī notion of a series of subtle centers of perception (laā'if ) (Rāzī 1986 p. 299ff). He also explained the varieties of visionary contemplation (mushāhadāt-i anwār ) (Rāzī 1986) and continued an esoteric commentary on the Qur'ān that had been begun by Najm al-Dīn Kubrā and completed by another Kubrawī master, 'Alā' al-Dawla Simnānī (d. 1326), who elaborated his own theory of the scripture's seven esoteric levels of meaning, each of which, he said, corresponded to a subtle center of light (laīfa ) (Waley 1991, Elias 1995) and expressed the inner reality (aqīqa ) of one of the prophets.

The Kubrawī school also featured a number of other notable Sufis who flourished in Iran and Central Asia: Sa'd al-Dīn ammūya (d. 1253), author of the Al-Mibā fi'l-tasawwuf ; Sayf al-Din Bākhazī (d. 1260), author of the Waqāʾiʿ al-khalwa ; Abū'l-Mafākhir Yayā Bakhrazī (d. 13351336), the author of an important Sufi manual, Fuū al-ādāb ; and 'Azīz-i Nasafī (d. between 1282 and 1300), a Sufi philosopher from Uzbekistan who wrote a number of profoundly original works in Persian that still remain popular. In India, the Kubrawiyya played an important role down to fourteenth century. A disciple of Simnānī named Sayyid 'Alī Hamadānī (d. 1385) was the last great thinker of the order in Central Asia; he founded the Hamadānī line, and, according to legend, was responsible for the Islamization of Kashmir.

This order was also influential in China, where Sufism first established a foothold in the early fifteenth century. The writings of two Kubrawī masters, Rāzī and Nasafī, were among the first Islamic works that were translated into Chinese in the seventeenth century, thus forming the intellectual bedrock of the Chinese Islamic tradition. The development of Islam in China is inextricably connected with the translation of Sufi texts into Chinese. Prior to the twentieth century, only four Islamic books had been translated into Chinese, all of them Persian Sufi classics belonging to the Kubrawī and Ibn ʿArabī schools (Murata 1999). Sufism in China today remains dominated by the Naqshbandī and Qādirī orders (Gladney 1999).

RŪmĪ and ibn ʿArabĪ

The thirteenth century was the golden age of Sufism, when the most celebrated Persian poet in Islamic history, Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (d. 1273), appeared. He was the author of the most extensive collection of mystical poetry, with the widest pattern of meters yet seen in Persian poetry. His collection of mystical-erotic lyrics, the Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīz (compiled under the name of Shams-i Tabrīzī because the signature verse of nearly each poem bore the name "Shams," symbolic of the poet's absorption in his spiritual teacher of this name) totals some 35,000 verses. Each of these ghazal s (Arabic for "love-lyric") is between five and sixty lines long and expresses the mystery of their relationship, as well as the paradoxes and subtleties of the mystical theology of Sufism. Each poem was the product of an ecstatic experience realized by the poet under the influence of the Sufi music-and-dance (samāʿ ) ceremony, which came to be the hallmark of his order, called the Mevlevi in Turkey and later known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Mevlevi Order's (from Rūmī's sobriquet Mawlānā, "our teacher") exotic flowing skirts and hypnotic revolving dance became the most popular European tourist attraction east of Athens, prompting Alexander Pope in his Essay on Man to observe that "Eastern priests in giddy circles run, / And turn their heads to imitate the Sun."

During the last decade and a half of his life, Rūmī began to compose the Mathnawi-yī maʿnawī (Rhyming spiritual couplets), dictated to his disciples under the sway of rapture. Eventually comprising more than 26,000 couplets of didactic poetry, this mystical epic became Rūmī's chief literary monument. "Judged by modern standards," wrote R. A. Nicholson in 1925 in his introduction to his critical edition and translation of the poem, "the Mathnawī is a very long poem: it contains almost as many verses as the Iliad and Odyssey together and about twice as many as the Divina Commedia."

Islam's greatest mystical thinker, known as the Magister Magnus or Shaykh al-Akbar, Muyī al-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī of Spain (d. 1240), generated a new era of writing in the field of Islamic gnosis with a string of Sufi commentators on his works and a whole school of theosophy still vital in Iran, India, Turkey, North Africa, Malaysia, and neighboring areas. Ibn ʿArabī was a very prolific author and, with the possible exception of Ghazālī, has been the most extensively studied thinker in the Islamic world (Morris 19861987). He composed some 850 works; 700 of these are extant, and at least 450 of them are genuine. His writings were responsible for formalizing and crystallizing the largely orally transmitted doctrines of the founders of the various Sufi Orders and thus fostered a common heritage for Sufism, which was then in the process of "creating new structures and attracting a wider flock of followers." (Chodkiewicz 1991, p. 51).

His major work, The Meccan Revelations (al-Futūāt al-makkiyya ), covers 2,580 pages of small Arabic script (in its new critical edition the work is projected to cover thirty-seven volumes of about 500 pages each). His most famous work, however, is a short work entitled Fuū al-ikam, made up of twenty-seven chapters, each of which is devoted to the divine wisdom revealed in a particular prophet and specific divine word. Each of these prophets represents a different mode of knowing. The title may be translated as "Bezels of Wisdom," implying that each prophet in his human setting is a kind of gemstone in which "each kind of wisdom is set, thus making of each prophet the signet or sign, by selection, of a particular aspect of God's wisdom" (Austin 1980, p. 16). The first chapter of the book concerns Adam and the last concerns Muammad, although the prophets discussed in between are not dealt with in chronological order. For nearly five hundred years it was the most frequently commented upon work in Sufi and theological circles in the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. In fact, the Fuū was the chief intellectual preoccupation of the Sufis in India, where commentaries were written on the book by Sayyid 'Alī Hamadānī in Kashmir, Shaykh 'Alī Mahaymī in Gujerat, and Muhammad Gisūdarāz in the Deccan (Ahmad 1963).

Ibn ʿArabī's name is inextricably associated with the doctrine of the "Unity of Being," "Oneness of Existence," or "theomonism" (wadat al-wujūd ), which should not be confused with pantheism. In this view, God is identical to created beings in His manifestation but completely separate and distinguished from them in their essences, so there is no substantial continuity between God and creation. All living beings participate with God through the theophany of His divine Names (the Living, the Speaking, the Hearing, the Omniscient, and so on), for we are all manifestations of one Lightthe orifices of being through which His illumination is shone. Existence thus manifests itself by means of epiphany or theophany (tajallī ), of which there are two types: intellectual theophany (tajallī 'ilmī ), which is a manifestation of Being that is termed the "Most Holy Emanation" (fay al-aqdās ), and existential theophany (tajallī wujūdī ), which is termed the "Sacred Emanation" (fay al-muqaddas ). The first type of theophany belongs to the Divine Essence, appertaining to the World of Unity (ʿālam al-aadiyya ); the second type hails from the World of Unicity (ʿālam al-wada ). Unlike the Peripatetic philosophers and most Sunni theologians, Ibn ʿArabī believed nothing to be external to the divinity or outside the Absolute. Existential multiplicity is not a kind of divine action outside of Being in its Essence and Attributes. He considered "Being as an unconditional absolute (mawjūd-la-bi-shar ) beyond all duality or multiplicity. According to him, the multiplicity which we observe at the sensible or spiritual levels does not affect the Unity of Being in its creative act. It simply represents its various degrees and many states. The existential theophanies, therefore, only constitute a facet of the Absolute-God who is One in His existence and many in His manifestations" (Yahia 1991, p. 36).

Knowledge of both existence and God can only be grasped imaginatively, that is, by intuitive disclosure (kashf ) and contemplative insight (shuhūd ), not through reason (ʿaql ), because a likeness of God can be gained only by recourse to imagination, not reason. Ibn ʿArabī's doctrine of the metaphysical, transpersonal imagination (khiyāl munfail ), which possesses its own distinct independent ontological level (comparable to Jung's collective unconscious) lead him to espouse an epistemology that harmonizes reason and mystical insight (Chittick 1996, p. 666). God's self-manifestation (uhūr ) can thus be intuited through the theophany of His divine names, which are manifest to the visionary imagination of the mystic, who can thereby experience a supersensory reality (Izutsu 1994).

Ibn ʿArabī's writings, employing "all the tools of the theologians, philosophers, grammarians, and other specialists" (Chittick 1989, p. 289), generated "by far the most elaborate Islamic 'philosophy of religion' and religious life, a comprehensive metaphysics which offered an all-encompassing justification and explanation for the observed diversity of religions, philosophic, and spiritual 'paths' to Godwhether within the multiple sects and schools of later Islamic culture, or in the wider, even multi-confessional context of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mogul empires." (Morris 1998, p. 23) As. T. Izutsu (1995, p. 552) has pointed out, "Even today the metaphysics of Ibn ʿArabī together withor mingled withthat of Suhrawardī, the Master of Illumination (Shaykh al-Ishrāq ), form the basis of the philosophical-gnostic world-view of Iranian Muslim intellectuals. In fact, one of his surnames, Muyī al-Dīn, meaning literally 'revivifier of religion,' manifests its living force when it is seen in terms of the role his thought has played in the historical formation of Iranian Islam."

Many of the greatest names in the annals of Persian Islam have counted themselves as disciples or at least interpreters of his doctrines. These include the likes of Awād al-Dīn Kirmānī (d. 1238), adr al-Dīn Qūnawī (d. 1274), Fakhr al-Dīn 'Irāqī (d. 1289), Saʿīd al-Dīn al-Farghānī (d. 1299), 'Azīz al-Dīn Nasafī (d. circa 1300), Mu'ayyid al-Dīn Jandī (d. 1301), 'Abd al-Razzāq al-Kashānī (d. 1339), 'Alā al-Dawla Simnānī, Dāwūd Qayārī (d. 1350), Rukn al-Dīn (Bābā Ruknā) Masʿūd Shirāzī (d. 1367), Mamūd Shabistarī (d. after 1339), Muammad Shirin Maghribī (d. 1408), Khwāja Muammad Parsā (d. 1419), ā'īn al-Dīn Turkah Ifahānī (d. 1427), Shāh Nimatu'llāh Walī (d. 1431), and Shāh Dāʿī Shirāzī (d. 14641465).

Sufism in the School of Isfahan

Prior to the advent of the modern age, the most significant development in Islamic thought occurred in the philosophical collegium of Isfahan in Safavid Iran (15011722), a unique amalgam of Sufism, Shīʿism, Platonist Ishrāqī theosophy, and Islamic rationalism that was heavily grounded in the theosophical theories of classical Sufism. Although all its members exhibited a profound respect for the ethical, intellectual, and spiritual ideals of classical Persian Sufism, few of them seem to have openly accepted the requirement of following the arīqa discipline involving obedience to a living master (pīr, murshid ). The writings of its members are permeated with Shīʿite piety, imamology, and theology, and were intellectually inspired by the Illuminationist (Ishrāqī ) theosophy of Shaykh Yayā Suhrawardī, which mixed Peripatetic rationalism with Islamic Platonism. Its main thinker, Mullā adrā (d. 1650), drew heavily on other renowned Sufi authors such as Abū Nar Sarrāj, 'Ayn al-Quāt Hamadhānī, Abū āmid al-Ghazālī, and Ibn ʿArabī (Pourjavady 1999). In fact, as S. H. Nasr has noted, if viewed correctly in historical context, the entire later school of adrā's Transcendental Theosophy, both in Iran and India, might be better classified as a sort of "speculative Sufism" (taawwuf-i naārī ) (Nasr 1993, p. 124) rather than as simply a species of philosophical mysticism (ikmat ).

Hodgson (1977, 3:52) has noted how the Platonists of Isfahan may be compared at points with their contemporaries, the Cambridge Platonists of England in their ecumenical interests. Mīr Findiriskī (d. 16401641) was one of the major philosophers of the School of Isfahan and was committed to the transmission and translation of the Hindu holy books and scriptures into Persian; he composed a commentary on the Yoga-Vāshishtha of Vālmiki. The Muslimization of Hindu mystical thought that resulted from the efforts of such philosophers and translators both in Iran and India can be compared to Marsilio Ficino's Christianization of the Greek Neoplatonic classics in his translations of Plato and Plotinus into Latin.

Sufism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Iran, and India from the Seventeenth Century to the Present

Since the late eighteenth century Muslim Sufi orders throughout the world have been in the throes of crisis and transformation because of the combined influences of modernism, Islamist reformism, nationalism, and European colonialism. A key to these upheavals has been the continuing impact of fundamentalist Islamism on Sufism throughout the Islamic world, a trend that began in the early twentieth century.

Throughout the Sunni world, Salafī s (puritans claiming to be followers of the "pious forbears" of the Prophet)particularly in Egypthave attacked Sufism as "inauthentic," a "Trojan horse for unwarranted innovations that owe their origins to non-Muslim civilizations such as Greece, Persia, and India" (Cornell 2004, p. 59). The same attacks have occurred in other Sunni-dominated countries of the Middle East. In Algeria and Syria, Sufis are beleaguered on the one hand by the all-encroaching influence of Western secularism, which endorses the Western modernist view of mysticism as an anachronistic superstition, and Wahhābī scriptural literalists on the other.

In Eastern Europe, Sufism has been a significant force since the early fifteenth century, especially in Bosnia, where a number of leading intellectuals, thinkers, and poets, mostly followers of the Mevlevīya and Naqshbandī Orders, penned influential mystical treatises and books and wrote glosses on classical tracts. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Albania became an important center of Sufism, with the majority of its inhabitants belonging to one or another Sufi order (Clayer 2001).

Since the early sixteenth century Sufism has been firmly established in Turkey "as a fundamental element of Ottoman Islamic society, where in the urban context, the Mevlevīya played an important role in the education of Ottoman elites and in the cultivation of Sufi and Persian literatures" (Lapidus 1992, p. 29). In Ottoman society, Rūmī's Mevlevī order, to which most of the country's intellectual and artistic elite belonged, became the greatest preserver of musical creativity in a religious context. The Mevlevīya produced some of Turkey's finest musicians and calligraphers and the most sophisticated religious poet of early modern times, Ghālib Dede (1799), whose poem Beauty and Love is a supreme work of world literature (Holbrooke 1994, Winter 1994). Although, by the end of the nineteenth century, almost every city in the Ottoman Empire possessed its own Mevlevī center (Zarcone 2000), by the early twentieth century, because of the Kemalist laws against the Orders, many of the Sufi centers were closed down or destroyed (Raudvere 2002). The law of September 1925, which stated that "from this day forth, there are not tarikat s, or dervishes, and murid s belonging to them, within the boundaries of the Turkish Republic" (Algar 1994, p. 55) explicitly banned all dervish gatherings, practices, and teachings. The Naqshbandī Order was subject to particular governmental persecution and harassment. Since the 1950s there has been a relaxation of some of these restrictions because of the Turkish government's attempt to harness Sufism's spiritual potential to further its own secularist sociopolitical agenda. Because the agenda of the Kemalist secular state is to counter Islamist fundamentalism with Sufism's mystical and moral universalism (ignoring its institutional, contemplative, and practical aspects), there has been a consequent revival of Sufi activities such as Mevlevī dervish dancing, and renewed interest in the cultural heritage of Sufi architecture, poetry, literature and music.

In Egypt, hardline Islamist ideologues such as Muammad Rashīd Riā (d. 1935) and asan al-Banna (d. 1949), founder of the Muslim brotherhood, condemned Sufism wholesale as a repository of corrupting opinions and ideas in Islam. Another Egyptian fundamentalist thinker, Sayyid Qub (d. 1966), argued that Sufism represented a debilitating, antirational, antiprogressive force in the Islamic tradition (Abu-Rabi 1988). For more than a century, Sufism in Egypt has been controlled by an elaborate state apparatus. Since 1903 the leaders of the Orders have been governed and often appointed by a Supreme Council of the Sufi Orders. In the interests of religious and state conformism, most of the transcendentalist, illuminationist, ecstatic, and unitive aspects of the Sufi tradition are publicly denigrated and suppressed in favor of a sober, reformist mysticism focused on communal moral virtues and study of adīth and the Qur'ān. The doctrines of rapture and intoxication maintained by the great founders of Sufi theosophy such as allāj and Bāyazīd are frowned upon by the Sufi Council (Hoffman 1995).

In Saudi Arabia, Sufism is banned today by the adīth-driven scripturalism of the Wahhābī literalist theologians. The entire corpus of Sufi writings, philosophy, poetry, theosophy, and literaturewhether these be the more orthodox works of Ghazālī or the visionary meditations of Ibn ʿArabī, which were once accepted as a mainstay of traditional Islamic theology by a broad spectrum of believershave been anathematized by the Wahhābī hierarchy that controls the mosques, schools, and universities (Cornell 2004). Even the writings of great Sufi masters such as Amad Ibn Idrīs (d. 1837) (the renowned Sufi saint of Moroccan origin who lived in Arabia and defended Ibn ʿArabī's Sufi doctrines in face of Wahhābī persecution) remain anathema to the Saudi fundamentalist state (Radtke 2000).

In Algeria during the nineteenth century, the Sufi orders played a leading role, among other Muslim groups, in fighting French imperialism, and stood in the vanguard of opposition to France's cultural and political colonialism (Benaissa 1997). During the twentieth century all the Sufi orders suffered persecution by the Salafī reformists, who accused them of backwardness and deviance from orthodoxy (Andezian 1994). In recent decades terrorist organizations, inspired by these same Algerian Salafī s, have continued their attack on Sufism, whereas the modernist secularist elements equate Sufism with decadence and backwardness, so that today "for many if not most educated Algerians, Sufism is virtually synonymous with 'maraboutism'saint-worshipping idolatry, superstitious donning of amulets, snake-charming, etc." (Shah-Kazemi 1994, p. 171)

In Iran, most of the main nineteenth-century political reformers, such as Akhundzāda (d. 1878), Mīrzā Malkum Khān (d. 1908), and Mirzā Āqā Khān Kirmāni (d. 1896) attacked Sufism, castigating its alleged passivity and religious conformism (Lewisohn 19981999). Radical Iranian secular intellectuals of the early twentieth century, such as Amad Kasravī (d. 1946) widened this critique to sweepingly condemned Sufism as "one of the deep-rooted and greatly misguided beliefs to have appeared in Islam" (Kasravī 1990, p. 79). In the Islamic Republic in the early twenty-first century, mystical philosophy (ikmat ) is encouraged, and there has been a renaissance in the publication of works on classical taawwuf, with Sufis abounding in all major urban centers, but their activities and gatherings are often closely monitored by the fundamentalist state. Since 1978 the theocratic regime has tried to write Sufism out of the textbooks of Iranian history and to destroy the mausoleums of the masters and living institutions of the Orders which dot the country; nevertheless, both above and below ground the Sufi orders have managed to survive.

In Pakistan, there has been a renaissance in the publication of Sufi literature, much of it patronized by the state and nationalist interests, which underwrite editions and Urdu translations of prominent Sufi poets who composed verse in regional vernaculars. Works by the famous masters of the Chishtī, Suhrawardī, and Naqshbandī Orders from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries "are widely available for popular use through modern Urdu translations in India and Pakistan, and occasionally in other languages as well (Ernst 2000, p. 335). Pakistani modernists such as Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) have made use of classical figures such as Rūmī, allāj, and Junayd in their own writings to further their own personal philosophical agenda but have denounced khānaqāh-based Sufism and the master-disciple relationship; some have attacked as decadent the Sufi love mysticism of Persian poets such as āfī. Recently, Sufism has sometimes been press-ganged to support nationalismas in Z. A. Bhutto's claim that Sufi saints were forerunners of the modern Islamic state of Pakistan (Ernst 1997, pp. 79, 209).

From the tenth century onward, the Islamization of India "was achieved largely by the preaching of the dervishes, not by the word" (Schimmel 1975, p. 346). The two main Indian orders that dominated the cultural and religious life of the land were the Chishtiyya and Suhrawardīyya, which had been introduced into India with the foundation of the Sultanate of Dehli; within a short time thousands of their khānaqāhs and zāwiyahs had woven themselves into the complex religious culture of India, smoothing and softening relations between opposing religious identities. The rise of the Indian Bhakhti movements in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries took place in the background and under the direct influence of khānaqāh -based Sufism of the Suhrawardī and Chishtī Orders (Nizami 1957).

The school of Ibn ʿArabī in India was sustained by Sufis of all the major Orders. The renewer of the Chishtī Order in northern India, 'Abd al-Quddūs Gangūhī (d. 1437), who had mastered the famous Hatha Yoga treatise Amrit Kund and who wrote Hindi poetry influenced by Nathpanthi Yogic and Bhakti traditions, strongly defended the philosophy of the 'Unity of Being' in his treatises and correspondence (Farooqi 2004, pp. 46). Some of the great Chishtī Sufis were ardent supporters of Ibn ʿArabī's theomonism. Shaykh Muibb-Allāh Ilāhābādī (d. 1648), a vicar of the grandson of 'Abd al-Quddūs Gangūhī, was known as the "Supreme Master" (Shaykh-i Kabīr) for works that defended and commented on Ibn ʿArabī's Fuū al-ikam. (Farooqi 2004).

The rulers of the Mughal Empire, from Akbar the Great (d. 1604) down to Shāh Jahān (d. 1658), patronized Sufis of the Chishtī, Qādarī, and Naqshbandī Orders, and utilized Sufi ecumenical "unity of religions" theory to unite their Hindu and Muslim subjects. Many Sufis in India tried to bridge the differences between Hindu and Muslim mysticism; hence one important service that the Sufi Orders and Sufis in South Asia performed was the promotion of sectarian harmony and interfaith tolerance (Islam 2002, p. 447). Mystics such as Niām al-Dīn Awliyā' and Dārā Shikūh were known for their tolerance of religious diversity and their appreciation of Hindu spirituality. Dārā Shikūh (d. 1659), the eldest son of the Mughal Emperor Shāh Jahān, wrote a comparative study of Sufi and Vedantic technical terms (Conjunction of the two Oceans [Majma' al-barayn ]) and a Persian translation of fifty-two Upanishads (The Supreme Arcanum [Sirr-i akbar ]). This work was later translated into Latin by Anquetil-Duperron, inspiring Schopenhauer and a whole string of European and American philosophers after him throughout the nineteenth century. Sufis of the Chishtī and Qādirī Orders rendered the Bhagavadgītā into Persian three times during the Mughal period in the seventeenth century, with Ibn ʿArabī's theory of an underlying mystical unity of religions used by its translators to interpret Hinduism in the context of Islamic theomonism (Vassie 1999).

Sufism in the Contemporary West

Up until the late eighteenth century, the cultural and intellectual influence of the Sufi tradition upon Western Europe had been marginal (Chodkiewicz 1994), although certain Sufi thinkers such as Ghazālī did have a formative influence upon certain Christian philosophers such as Raymond Llull (Urvoy 2004). In the nineteenth century, Persian Sufi theosophy and poetry entered the course of Western European thought through key representatives of the German Idealist and American Transcendentalist movements, particularly in the figures of Goethe in Germany and Emerson in North America, both of whom were profoundly influenced by translations of Persian Sufi mystical literature (Jahanpour 1999). During the twentieth century, the traditionalist school founded by the French metaphysician René Guénon (d. 1951)who converted to Islam and spent the last twenty years of his life in Cairo as a Sufi shaykh of the North African Shadhili Orderhave constituted the avant-garde of Sufi teaching in the West. Sufi Muslims among Guénon's followers included Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Martin Lings, and S. H. Nasr, whose writings endeavor to revive Muslim orthodox traditional Sufi teachings in the light of the Sophia perennis, aiming to address both Islamic orthodoxy and the ecumenical concerns of comparative religion. Other advocates of the Sophia perennis and followers of the traditionalist school who were deeply influenced by Sufism are Ananda Coomaraswamy and Aldous Huxley.

The renowned Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff (d. 1949), who was steeped in Sufi theosophy, spread his teachings during the 1930s and 1940s throughout Europe and the United States through a wide circle of followers, such as P. D. Oupensky (d. 1947), P. L. Travers, René Daumal, and Maurice Nicoll. Many of Gurdjieff's followers articulated his esoteric teachings as being a kind of Sufism divorced from traditional Islam. During the same period, the so-called "Sufi Order of the West," founded by Ināyāt Khān (d. 1927), an Indian musician of the Chishtī Order, preached Sufism in Europe and North America as a sort of woolly universal mysticism that could be detached from its Islamic roots. Idries Shah (d. 1996), a prolific author of more than twenty-five books on Sufism, did much to introduce Sufism to the educated middle classes in the West, particularly artists and intellectuals, teaching that Sufism lies at the heart of all religion, although his interpretation of Sufism was primarily a malāmatī rather than an orthodox Muslim one.

Over the past few decades, under the leadership of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, the Iranian Niʿmatuʾllāhī order has become a major publisher of Sufi works in English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Italian. This order lays little emphasis on the Islamic dimension of Sufism, stressing its universalism and ethnic Persian origins. Since the 1980s, there has also been a renaissance of scholarship on classical Sufi texts in French, English, and German, and the publication of critical studies and editions of the works of the great Sufi saints in all the major European languages has blossomed. Rūmī has become the best-selling poet in the history of American poetry publishing.

There are today at least fifty different Sufi movements in North America, the literary output of which, as Marcia Hermansen (2000, p. 158) observes, "is by now so vast that it would require a volume rather than an essay to adequately discuss the history and doctrines of each of the groups in detail." Sufism and its Orders are today found throughout all the major countries of Europe; in Britain alone, there are at least twenty-five active orders whose followers' ethnic origins can be traced back to Pakistan, India, the Middle East, Iran, and West Africa (Geaves 2000).

See also al-Fārābī; al-Ghazālī, Amad; al-Ghazālī, Muammad; Aristotle; Averroes; Avicenna; Corbin, Henry; Ficino, Marsilio; Galen; Ibn al-ʿArabī; Islamic Philosophy; Lull, Ramón; Mullā adrā; Mysticism, History of; Nasr, Seyyed Hossein; Neoplatonism; Plato; Pletho, Giorgius Gemistus; Plotinus; Pope, Alexander; Socrates; Suhrawardī, Shihāb al-Dīn Yayā; Zoroastrianism.

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Leonard Lewisohn (2005)

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Sufism

SUFISM

SUFISM (Ar. Taṣawwuf ). The Arabic form Taṣawwuf is the name by which Islamic mysticism has been known since the early 9th century c.e. and to which many paths (ṭarīqa, pl. ṭuruq) and individuals still adhere today. The name derives, most probably, from ṣūf, wool, and refers to the rough woolen garment (jubbat ṣūf) with which ascetics, mystics, and prophets have been associated since biblical times. Sufis themselves prefer to point to another derivation: the root ṣ-f-w, which, in various verbal forms, denotes "purity" (ṣafā) and "[divine] choice" (ṣafwa, iṣṭifā). In their self-appraisal Sufis see these latter principles as more crucial than ascetic practices such as wearing wool. Primarily, Sufis see themselves as seekers (murīdūn) and wayfarers (sālikūn) on the path to God. The search for God (irāda, ṭalab) and the wayfaring (sulūk) on the path (ṭarīq) involve a gradual inner and ethical transformation through a number of stages or stations (maqāmāt). These include repentance (tawba), scrupulous performance of the divine commandments (wara'), abstention (zuhd), poverty (faqr), perseverance (ṣabr), trust in God (tawakkul) and surrender (riḍā). Although some of these stations are ascetical in nature, their primary functions are ethical, psychological and educational: they are designed as a means for combating the lower-self (mujāhadat al-nafs) and as a tool for its training and education (riyāḍat al-nafs). The lower-self (nafs), being the seat of personal will and desire, is seen as the main obstacle for attaining God. In order to combat and train the lower-self, Sufis practice fasting (ṣawm), food and drink deprivation (jūʿ'), wakefulness at night for the recitation of koranic passages (qiyām al-layl), periods of seclusion (khalawāt), roaming uninhabited places in states of poverty and deprivation, and lengthy meditations (murāqaba, jam' al-hamm). The effortful path of self-denial and transformation through gradual stages (maqāmāt) is interwoven with effortless mystical experiences (aḥwāl). These are seen as spontaneous and intense inner occurrences in which divine truths are revealed to the heart (qalb, sirr). They portray the dynamic and ecstatic aspect of the mystical life and are richly depicted in Sufi literature, poetry and vocabulary. The culmination of the mystical states is the self-absorption, or annihilation (fanāʾ) in God. Mystical experiences often produce states of ecstasy (wajd) and drunkenness (sukr), which may result in the exclamation of poetic verses, uncontrollable utterances, involuntary bodily movements, fainting and even death. The ecstatic exclamations (shaṭaḥāt) are at times shocking and seemingly blasphemous. The most notorious among the latter are attributed to Abū Yazīd al-Bisṭ1tāmī (d. ca. 875) and to Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj. One of the most traumatic events in the history of Sufism is associated with the ecstatic utterances of al-Ḥallāj, in particular his "I am the Truth" (anā al-ḥaqq), for which, among other accusations, he was publicly executed in *Baghdad in the year 922.

For their proper training Sufi seekers are urged to put themselves under the guidance of a master (murshid, shaykh). Spiritual masters are revered men, and occasionally women, who constitute a "sacred hierarchy" and are known as "the Friends of God (awliyāʾ allāh). These are the protagonists of many edifying stories, recorded in Sufi compilations, which narrate of their miraculous acts (karāmāt al-awliyāʾ). The master directs the disciples in religious, ethical, psychological, and spiritual matters, including the interpretation of their dreams, perplexities and mystical experiences. Under the guidance of the master, or his deputy, the disciples perform the ritual known as "Remembrance of God" (dhikr allāh), in which God's names, as well as certain sacred formulae, are invoked repeatedly. Another practice that is often associated with Sufism is the spiritual concert, or "listening," samā', in which poetic recitations, music and dances are performed by the participants, sometimes in states of ecstasy and elation.

The early Sufi circles of the 9th–11th centuries became the nuclei for the large Sufi Paths, or Brotherhoods (ṭarīqa, ṭuruq), which emerged from the 12th century on. The Brotherhoods are named after their believed founders, who had passed the teaching down to their disciples; they, in turn, pass it on to their own disciples in an uninterrupted "chain of transmission" (silsila). Currently, in spite of the general decline of Sufism due to disapproval from both modernists and fundamentalists, Sufi Brotherhoods and their local branches are still active throughout the Muslim world, as well as in the West. At present, as in the past, Sufism is an important factor in the spread of Islam, especially among Western seekers.

In the Middle Ages, especially in Muslim *Spain and later on in *Egypt, Sufism left its mark on some Jewish pietistic writers and circles. The most popular Sufi-inspired Jewish work, written in *Judeo-Arabic in 11th-century Saragossa, is *Baḥya ibn Paquda's "The Duties of the Heart" (Ḥovot ha-Levavot). In Egypt, Sufism was highly regarded by the Pietist Circle of the Egyptian ḥasidim and their masters, in particular R. Abraham *Maimonides and his descendants, who saw in Sufi practices the continuation of biblical prophetic traditions.

bibliography:

S.D. Goitein, Jews and Arabs (1964), 148–54; A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimension of Islam (1975); G. Böwering, The Mystical Vision of Existence in Early Islam (1980); P. Fenton, The Treatise of the Pool (1981); C. Ernst, Words of Ecstasy in Sufism (1984); J.S. Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam (19982); R.E. Cornell, Early Sufi Women (1999); L. Lewisohn (ed.), The Heritage of Sufism, 3 vols. (1999); A. Knysh, Islamic Mysticism. A Short History (2000). A new periodical, researching Sufism, The Journal of the History of Sufism, has started publication in English and French.

[Sara Sviri (2nd ed.)]

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Sufism

Sufism

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship

Bektashi Order

Beshara School of Intensive Esoteric Education

Burhaniyya Sufi Order

Chishti Order of America

International Association of Sufism

International Mevlevi Foundation

Ja’far-Shadhiliyya Sufi Order

Jerrahi Order of America

Kebzeh Foundation

Khanegah Maleknia Naser Ali Shah

Naqshbandi Sufi Order

Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism

Nimatollahi-Gonabadi Erfan Foundation

The Nimatullahi Sufi Order

Osho Mevlana Foundation

Qadiri Rifai Tariqa/Ansari Tariqa

Rifa’i Marufi Sufi Fellowship/Universal Center of Light

School of Islamic Sufism (MTO Shahmaghsoudi)

Shadhiliyya-Miriamiyya

Shadhiliyya Sufism

Society for Sufi Studies

Sufi Circle

Sufi Foundation of America

Sufi Ruhaniat International (Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society)

The Sufi Movement

Sufi Order

The Threshold Society

Tijaniyya Sufi Path

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship

5820 Overbrook Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19131

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship was founded in 1971. Shaikh M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen was a Sri Lankan Sufi teacher said to be over a hundred years old. In the 1930s he was discovered by pilgrims in the Kataragama Forest, and the Serendib Study Group was established in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. He was first brought to Philadelphia in 1971 by a disciple, and as a group began to recognize him as their spiritual teacher, the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship was organized. During the next years until his death in 1986 he traveled between Philadelphia and Sri Lanka.

Bawa saw himself not as the teacher of a new religion, but as dealing with the essence of all religion. He taught the unity of God and human unity in God. A Sufi is one who has lost the self in the Solitary Oneness that is God. It is the individual’s sole duty to realize the 3,000 qualities of God within him or herself. The soul is that point of divine wisdom at which the consciousness of individuals is one with God. From contemplation of this point the individual realizes God.

The conditions leading to God realizations are the following: (1) the constant affirmation that nothing but God exists; (2) the continual elimination of evil from one’s life; and (3) the conscious effort to embody God’s qualities—patience, tolerance, peacefulness, compassion, and the assumption that all lives should be treated as one’s own. Meeting these conditions leads naturally to the practice of dhikr, the remembrance of God.

The headquarters of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship is located in a large house in a residential section of Philadelphia where public meetings are held daily. Also on the grounds is the Shaikh M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Mosque, where the traditional five prayers a day and the Friday congregational prayers are held regularly. In addition, a house west of the Philadelphia center is the mazaar (tomb) of M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, which is open for visitation. Over the years, more than 20 books about Bawa Muhaiyaddeen’s teachings have been published by the Fellowship Press. Also available are numerous audio and videocassette recordings of his discourses.

Membership

Not reported. In 1982 there were nine fellowship groups in the United States and two in Canada, and 3,000 members worldwide. There were four branches in Sri Lanka and one in Great Britain.

Sources

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship. www.bmf.org.

Muhaiyaddeen, M. R. Guru Bawa, Shaikh. God, His Prophets, and His Children. Philadelphia: Fellowship Press, 1978.

———. The Guidebook. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Fellowship Press, 1976.

———. Mata Veeram, or the Forces of Illusion. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1982.

———. Truth and Light. Philadelphia: Guru Bawa Fellowship of Philadelphia, 1974.

———. The Truth and Unity of Man. Philadelphia: Fellowship Press, 1980.

Bektashi Order

21749 Northline Road, Taylor, MI 48180

The Bektashi Order of Sufis emerged in the Muslim community of Anatolia some 700 years ago. Over the centuries, it earned a reputation for its respect for other religions, for its inclusion of women, and for the beauty of its spiritual poetry. During the Ottoman period, the order gained a large following throughout the Balkan Peninsula. Bektashi clergy began to play a noteworthy role in the Albanian nationalist movement during the late nineteenth century. Like other Albanian religions, Bektashism was severely persecuted by the communist government after 1967. In 1991 the Bektashi Order of Sufis was able to reestablish itself in a newly democratized Albania. Today, there are still significant numbers of Bektashis in Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Turkey,

The Bektashi Order was brought to the United States by Baba (Father) Rexheb Beqiri (1901–1995), an Albanian refugee who escaped his homeland shortly before its communist takeover near the end of World War II. Rexheb was born and raised in Gjirokaster, a town in southern Albania. He completed studies in Islamic theology by age 16. In addition to his native Albanian language, he was fluent in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. At the age of 21, he took the vows of celibate Bektashi dervish in his uncle’s Sufi lodge. He was forced to flee Albania in 1944, owning to his opposition to communism. Following stays in Italy and Egypt, he finally made his way to the United States in 1952. With the help of the Albanian émigré community, he opened the first Albanian-American Bektashi Monastery in 1954. Baba Rexheb was the spiritual guide of this center until his passing in 1995. Today it is headed by Baha Arshi Bazaj. Over the years, the congregation has primarily been made up of Albanian-Americans, although in the last decade, a small number of people from other ethnic backgrounds joined the congregation.

Membership

In 2008 there were more than 1,000 members.

Educational Facilities

The World Headquarters of the Bektashi Community, Tirana, Albania.

Sources

The Bektashi Order of Sufis. www.bektashi.net.

Birge, John Kingsley. The Betashi Order of Dervishes. London: Luzac & Co., 1937.

Rexheb, Baba. Islamic Mysticism and Bektashism. Babagan Books, 2007.

Trix, Frances. Spiritual Discourse: Learning with an Islamic Master. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

Beshara School of Intensive Esoteric Education

Chisholme House, Roberton, Nr. Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, UKTD9 7PH

The Beshara School of Intensive Esoteric Education (also known as the Beshara Foundation) was founded in 1971 at Swyre Farm in Gloucestershire, England. It is dedicated to the study of the writings of Muhyiddin Ibn’Arabi, a twelfth-century mystic born in Andalucia, Spain. Ibn’Arabi authored over 300 books, most growing out of his intense experience of God. He taught that there was only One Absolute Being, apart from which there is no other existence. He saw the unity of existence as the essence of all religion, a belief which causes many of his Islamic contemporaries and critics to judge him a pantheist.

The Beshara School has constructed a program which assists people in understanding their personal existence as an aspect of the One Reality. From the orginal center, other facilities were purchased throughout England. In the 1980s Sherborne House, which had served as the center of John Godolphin Bennett’s work, was purchased and now serves as the international headquarters. Additional centers were opened in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia. The Beshara School came to the United States when a center was opened in Berkeley, California in 1976. The American center has developed a study program, publishes the works of Ibn’Arabi, and holds a variety of workshops which apply his ideas to everyday life.

Membership

Not reported. There are contacts located in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands, and Spain.

Sources

Beshara. www.beshara.org.

al-’Arabi, Ibn. The Bezels of Wisdom. New York: Paulist Press, 1980.

———. Sufis of Andalucia. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971.

Landau, Ron. The Philosophy of Ibn ’Arabi. London: Allen and Unwin, 1959.

Burhaniyya Sufi Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Burhaniyya Sufi Order is a popular Sufi group in Egypt and the Sudan. In the 1980s members of this group moved to Canada and settled in Montreal. A center was formally organized in 1987, which now includes both first generation immigrants and some recent converts. Worship is held on Saturday evenings.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

McDonough, Sheila. “Muslims in Montreal.” In Muslim Communities in North America by Yvonne Haddad and Jane Idleman Smith. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1994, pp. 321-22.

Chishti Order of America

PO Box 7249, Endicott, NY 13761

The Chishti Order of America is one of several Sufi groups in the United States which traces its origins to the Chisht Order, one of the four main branches of Sufism. The Chishti Order was founded by Khwaja Abu Ishaq Shami who settled at Chisht in Khurasan in what is present-day Iran during the tenth century. The line-age of leaders of the Chishti Order stayed in Persia until the succession of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti (1142–1236), the most renowned saint in the order’s history. He took the order to India and is regarded as the true founder of the modern order.

Khwaja Muinuddin was born in Sistan, Persia, and raised as a Sufi. The constant warfare he witnessed during his early life reinforced the mystic tendencies he inherited through his family. He studied with Hazrat Khwara Usman Harvani, a teaching master of the Chishti Order, for twenty years and was, upon his departure, granted the khalifat, or succession, of his teacher. He traveled to Lahore and Delhi before settling in Ajmer, then the seat of an important Hindu state. He became a major force in establishing Islam in India. His tomb in Ajmer is sacred shrine as well as the location of the international headquarters of the order.

Over the centuries, various leaders of the order have founded new branches. The two most important are the Nizami (founded by Nizamu’d-Din Mahbubiilahi) and the Sabiri (founded by Makhdum Ala’u’di-Din Ali Ahmad Sabiri). Both orders were started by students of Baba Farid Shakarganilj in the thirteenth century. The Chishti Order of America derives its lineage from the Sabiri branch of the Chishti Order. The Nizami branch is represented in America by the Sufi Order (see separate entry).

The Chishti Order of America was founded in 1972 by Hakim G. M. Chishti as the Chishti Sufi Mission, an affiliate of the Chishti Sufi Mission Society of India in Ajmer. Hakim was a student of Mirza Wahiduddin Begg who was the senior teacher at Ajmer during the 1970s. When Begg died in 1979, Hakim was granted his succession, a fact confirmed in a ceremony in Ajmer in 1980. At the same time, the Chishti Sufi mission was renamed the Chishti Order of America.

Khwaja Muinuddin stressed the essence of Sufism as the apprehension of Divine reality through spiritual means and the suppression of the lower self. He taught the need of devotion to one’s spiritual master (Pir) as a necessity for salvation. He also stressed the obligation of humanitarian action in the face of the caste system

Membership

Not reported. In 1981 sheikhs of the order were to be found in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Sources

The Chishti website. www.chishti.ru.

Begg, W. D. The Holy Biography of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti. Tucson, AZ: Chishti of Mission of America, 1977.

International Association of Sufism

14 Commercial Blvd., Ste. 101, Novato, CA 94949

The International Association of Sufism (IAS), founded in 1983 by Nahid Angha and Ali Kianfar, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization of the United Nations Department of Public Information. Its purpose is to promote Sufism to the general public, promote dialogue among Sufi schools, and publish educational material on Sufism. The IAS holds an annual symposium and publishes the journal Sufism: An Inquiry. The IAS has NGO/DPI status at the United Nations, to which Nahid Angha serves as the IAS representative.

Angha is the daughter and student of Moulana Shah Maghsoud, a Sufi master from the Uwaiysi School, born in Iran in 1916. Kianfar was also a student of Maghsoud, who gave Kianfar the title Shah Nazar (the Sight of the King). Angha and Kianfar are Masters of the Uwaiysi Tarighat, also based in Novato, California. The Uwaiysi School traces itself to the early Muslim saint Uwaiys-ibn-Amir Moradi-al-Gharani (d. 657 c.e.) of Yemen.

Membership

Not reported.

Educational Facilities

Institute for Sufi Studies, Novato, California, and Redmond, Washington.

Periodicals

Sufism: An Inquiry • Insight, IAS Newsletter.

Sources

International Association of Sufism. www.ias.org/.

Institute for Sufi Studies. instituteforsufistudies.org/.

International Mevlevi Foundation

Current address not obtained for this edition.

In 1995 Dr. Celalettin Celebi (1926–1996), international head of the Mevlevi Order, requested that an international Mevlevi foundation be established to bring the Mevlevis of the world under one roof. The Mevlevi Order continues the work of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273), an Islamic mystic poet and possibly the most famous Sufi among non-Muslims. The program of the foundation includes an annual international gathering of the heads of the various branches of the order, the sponsoring of seminars in different parts of the world, and the publication of a journal. An initial international gathering was held in Bodrum, Turkey, in June 1996. Attendees included representatives from Turkey, the United States, England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Chile, and Iran.

The foundation also assumes responsibility to inform everyone about actions and applications that are inconsistent with the moral and spiritual values of the Mevlevi tradition, which have been clarified in the last 700 years, preserving the spiritual teachings of Mevlana Jalauddin Rumi.

In modern secularized Turkey, Sufi organizations are illegal (though a law that is widely ignored). As a result of the law, however, common designation such as “Mevlevi Order” or “Mevlevi Tarikat” are avoided, and the Mevlevis are formally established as the International Mevlana Foundation (UluslararasI Mevlânâ Vakfi), officially a cultural and educational foundation.

Following Dr. Celebi’s death in April 1996, his son, Faruk Hemdem Celebi, succeeded him and now oversees the functioning of the International Mevlevi Foundation and other activities of the Mevlevi Order. The son has called for all Mevlevi groups to recognize his authority as the proper head of the order. Until recently, the Threshold Society operated as the American representative of the Mevlevi Order, but it now operates independent of the international order.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

International Mevlani Foundation. www.mevlana.net/ and www.dar-al-masnavi.org.

Hermansen, Marcia K. “Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism.” Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

Ja’far-Shadhiliyya Sufi Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Ja’far-Shadhiliyya Sufi Order made a significant impact on the American Sufi community in the 1980s. The group was founded by Shaikh Fadhlalla Haeri, an Iranian formerly affiliated with the Habibiyya Sufis. In 1980, he and a group of followers established Zahra Trust and began to build a community, Bayt al-Deen (home of religion) in Bianco, Texas. The community had as its model the original Muslim community in Medina. Haeri published a number of books through the associated Zahra Publications.

The community survived through the 1980s, but toward the end of the decade, Haeri decided to relocate to England, and the present state of the American membership is unknown.

Membership

Not reported.

Periodicals

Nuradeen: An Islamic Sufi Journal.

Sources

Haeri, Shaykh Fadhlalla. Beginning’s End. London: KPI/Zahra Publications, 1987.

———. The Elements of Sufism. New York: Penguin, 1997.

———. The Journey of the Self: A Sufi Guide to Personality. San Francisco: Harper, 1991.

———. Living Islam. Dorset, UK: Element, 1989.

Jerrahi Order of America

880 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977

The Jerrahi Order of America is the North American affiliate of the Halveti-Jerrahi Sufi Order headquartered in Istanabul, Turkey. The Halveti (also spelled Khalwati) is regarded as one of the original source schools of Sufism, and members attribute its founding to several thirteenth-century Muslim ascetics. The Halveti developed many branches, one of which was founded in the seventeenth century by Hazreti Pir Nureddin Jerrahi (d. 1733). Born in a prominent Istanbul family, Pir Nureddin studied law and at the age of 19 was appointed a judge for the Ottoman Empire’s province of Egypt. Just as he was due to sail to his new post, he met Halveti Sheikh ali Alauddin and gave up his legal career to become a dervish. An accomplished student, he soon received ijazat, license to teach from his instructor.

The Halveti orders have been characterized by both a strict program of training and emphasis upon individualism (one cause of the continual branching). It has also invested great reverence in any of its leaders who could demonstrate power. Jerrahi is considered a qutb, a spiritual pole of the universe, and head of the hierarchy of saints. The order spread throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond, from Yugoslavia to Indonesia.

The most distinctive practice of the Jerrahi Order is dhikr (or zhikr), literally the remembrance of God. Dhikr is the invocation of the unity of God and is performed by the dervishes with in a circle headed by their sheikh.

The Jerrahi Order of America is currently headed by Sheikh Tosun Bayrak alJerrahi, who resides in Istanbul. The order was established with in the American-Muslim community in the late 1970s. The Mosque of the Jerrahi Order of America, its main center, is located in Chestnut Ridge, New York.

Membership

As of 2001, four centers were active in America: New York, California, Illinois, and Washington. There are also centers in Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, and Santiago. The Canadian center is in Toronto. European centers are found in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

Sources

Halveti-Jerrahi Order of Dervishes. www.jerrahi.org.

Al-Jerrahi, Shaykh Muzaffer Ozak. Adornement of Hearts. New York: Pir Press, 1991.

———. Ashki’s Divan. New York: Pir Press, 1991.

———. Blessed Virgin Mary. New York: Pir Press, 1992.

———. The Garden of Dervishes. New York: Pir Press, 1992.

———. Irshad: Wisdom of a Sufi Master. New York: Pir Press, 1992.

———. Love Is the Wine. Monterey, CA: Threshold Books, 1987.

Al-Jerrahi, Muzaffer Ozak. The Unveiling of Love. New York: Inner Traditions International, 1981.

Al-Jerrahi al-Halveti, Shaykh Tosun Bayrak. Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1997.

———. Inspirations: On the Path of Blame. Monterey, CA: Threshold Books, 1993.

———. The Name and the Named. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2000.

———. Secret of Secrets. Islamic Texts Society, 1992.

———. Suhrawardi: The Shape of Light. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1998.

———. Sufi Chivalry. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1991.

———. The Tree of Being. Los Angeles, CA: Archetype, 2005.

Al-Jerrahi al-Halveti, Shaykh Tosun Bayrak, and Rabia T. Harris. What the Seeker Needs. Monterey, CA: Threshold Books, 1992.

Birgivi, Imam. The Path of Muhammed: A Book on Islamic Morals and Ethics. Interpreted by Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2005.

Frager, Robert. Essential Sufism. New York: HarperOne, 1997.

———. Heart, Self & Soul: The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance, and Harmony. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1999.

Friedlander, Shems. When You Hear Hoofbeats. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1992.

———. Whirling Dervishes. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press (January 1992).

Harris, Rabia Terry. Journey to the Lord of Power: A Sufi Manual on Retreat. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1981.

———. Sufi Book of Spiritual Ascent. Chicago, IL: Kazi Publications, 1997.

Kebzeh Foundation

Kebzeh Foundation and Essentialist Church of Christ, 2001 45th Ave., Vernon, BC, Canada V1T 6N6

Ahmsta Kebzeh is an ancient spiritual tradition from the Caucasus Mountains that embodies elements of Sufism and Christian mysticism. It describes itself as an applied science of processing the human being by awakening and developing latent human faculties under divine grace and guidance. It is an oral teaching which has been passed on through story, song, and the way of being of the people who carry it.

Ahmsta Kebzeh can be thought of as the science of processing human beings to the level of enabling them to activate and use their utmost human faculties without limit. The life in this universe came to existence as a reflection of a creative power which is the source of everything, and which exists without beginning and without end. This power is electromagnetic in nature with an intelligence and will of its own.

Ahmsta Kebzeh teaches that once an entity comes to existence with a vibration peculiar to potential manifestation of self it enters the World of Creation and starts its cycle of evolution. Every entity which came to existence in creation evolves until ultimately the end of its evolution comes to be one with the very thing it originated from. Evolution takes place in two areas of existence: 1) Material Area, and 2) Mental Area. This cycle of evolution is taking place in everything existing in the world. Humans completed their material evolution some one million years ago and for the last million years have been in the process of evolving in consciousness. The destination of the evolution of human consciousness is ultimately Cosmic consciousness (Christ consciousness), and to such consciousness there is no limit.

The manifestation of this potential is the job of the science of Ahmsta Kebzeh. The application of Ahmsta Kebzeh consists of a long series of physical and mental exercises, somewhat reminiscent of the spiritual exercises brought to the West by Georgei Gurdjieff.

In this generation, Ahmsta Kebzeh has been transmitted orally by Murat Yagan, a Circassian elder who is thought to be the last known living light-holder of this particular tradition. He received it directly from the elders of his people and for the past 20 years has been teaching it to a small group of students in western Canada. The North American group began to work with Murat Yagan in 1975. His teaching work has included lectures, seminars, workshops, evening classes, and casual conversations while working and socializing. Many of these talks were recorded and have been transcribed and now constitute over 4,000 typed pages of material, the first written form the tradition has taken.

The Kebzeh Foundation includes departments and committees, such as The Essentialist Church of Christ and Sunday School, Kebzeh Publications, Distance Education, Application of Kebzeh to the Business of Contemporary Life (AOK), Leaping Committee (includes workshops and proposed Kebzeh School), Newsletter Publication, and Transcription. With in the Kebzeh tradition it is not allowed to receive money for the teaching and the overwhelming percent of all the work done by volunteers.

The Essentialist Church of Christ was founded in 1988 for the purpose of meeting for worship, i.e., showing a loving respect for a higher spiritual power or for someone who represents such a power. The church is based fully on the principles of Ahmusta Kebzeh and on Jesus’teachings under the light of Kebzeh. The church is not interested in proselytizing.

The church takes as guidance the essence of Christ directly. Such guidance is an essential component of mysticism: a faculty peculiar to humans, relating to the direct communion with God, or Ultimate Reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence, but which can be experienced through developing the finest receptivity down in the deepest realm of the subconscious mind; communion with God.

The church affirms a relationship to God and Cosmic Mind and Jesus as the highest example of completed man. Humans’ birthright is Christhood. To claim their destiny, human beings must work to awaken their latent human faculties and come to know who they are by discovering God within. The Second Coming of Christ consists of the elevation of the consciousness of all the people on the planet to Christhood.

Membership

Not reported.

Periodicals

Kebzeh Review Newsletter.

Sources

Kebzeh Foundation. www.kebzeh.org.

Yagan, Murat. Building Up a Kebzeh Community. Vernon, BC: Kebzeh Publications, 1998.

———. I Come from behind Kaf Mountain: The Spiritual Autobiography of Murat Yagan. Putney, VT: Thresholds Books, 1984.

———. “Sufism and the Source.” Gnosis 30 (Winter 1994): 40-47.

———. The Teachings of Kabzeh: Essentials of Sufism from the Caucasus Mountains. Vernon, BC: Kebzeh Publications, 1995.

Khanegah Maleknia Naser Ali Shah

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Khanegah Maleknia Naser Ali Shah is a small Nimatullahis Sufi Order headed by Naser Ali Shah, who moved between centers in Istanbul, Turkey, and Paris, France. Shah’s nephew, who resides in Rhode Island, had been designated his kahalifa, and leaders (murids) are found in New York City; Boulder, Colorado; and North Carolina.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Hermansen, Marcia K. “Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism.” Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

Naqshbandi Sufi Order

PO Box 1065, Fenton, MI 48430

The Naqshbandi Sufi Order is an Islamic school of thought and practice that arose in Central Asia and India, spread through China and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, and came into Europe and North America in the past generation. The word “Naqshband” includes two ideas: naqsh or “engraving” the name of Allah in the heart, and band or “bond” designating the link between the individual and the Creator. Ideally, the Naqshbandi followers practice their prayers and obligations according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Muhammad) and keep the presence and love of Allah alive through the personal experience of the link between themselves and Allah. The Naqshbandi Way holds as an ideal continuous worship in every action, both external and internal. It includes the maintenance of the highest level of conduct, keeping an awareness of the Presence of God, Almighty and Exalted, and a complete experience of the Divine Presence.

The Naqshbandi traces its life to one of the Caliphs, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad in his role of guiding the Muslim community, and takes its foundations and principles from the teachings and example of him and six other outstanding followers of Islam, and Salman al-Farisi, Jacfar as-Sadiq, Bayazid Tayfur al-Bistami, Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, and Muhammad Baha’uddin Uwaysi al-Bukhari. Of these, Abdul Khaliq formulated worship in the dhikr (remembrance of God), and in his letters he set down the code of conduct (adab) that the students of the Naqshbandiyya were expected to follow.

Muhammad Baha’uddin Uwaysi al-Bukhari, known as Shah Naqshband, the Imam of the Naqshbandi Tariqat (path), was born in the year 1317 c.e. He adopted a silent method of remembering God which would become a distinguishing feature of the Naqshbandiyya with in the larger Sufi community. Shah Naqshband made the Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) on three occasions, after which he resided in Merv and Bukhara, and toward the end of his life he settled in his native city of Qasr al-carifan. His school and mosque remain as the largest Islamic center of learning in Central Asia. Shah Naqshband was buried in his garden as he requested, and the succeeding kings of Bukhara care for his school and mosque. They were recently renovated and reopened after surviving 70 years of Communist rule.

The order is currently headed by Sheikh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani, the 40th in the chain of Naqshbandi Masters. He resides in Cyprus. His representative in the United States is Sheikh Hisham Kabbani, his son-in-law. Male followers of the group wear a distinctive dress that includes turbans and green robes.

Membership

Over 10,000 people in North America have been initiated into the Naqshbandi Order. In 1998 there were 18 Naqshbandi centers in the United States and two in Canada. Additional centers can be found in Great Britain, Spain, Sweden, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Kenya, Syria, Argentina, Guadeloupe, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Brunei, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela.

Remarks

Among the disciples of Sheikh Nazim is the sultan of Brunei, reportedly the richest man in the world.

Sources

The Naqshbandi-haqqani Sufi Order. www.naqshbandi.net.

Kabbani, Sheikh Hisham. The Naqshbandi Way: History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain. Chicago: Kazi Press, 1995.

Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism

c/o Golden Sufi Center, PO Box 428, Inverness, CA 94937

Naqshbandi Sufis, named after Bah ad-dn Naqshband (d.1389), are known as the “silent Sufis” because they practice the silent meditation of the heart. They consider God to be the silent emptiness who is most easily accessed in silence. They also attach great importance to dreams, which they consider to be a form of guidance along the Path. Unlike other Sufis, they do not practice samac, i.e., sacred music or dance, nor do they adopt a different dress. Their meetings consist of a period of silent meditation followed by dream work and discussion.

Sufi dream work combines both spiritual and psychological approaches, helping individuals to realize inner guidance and the inner processes of the Path as they are imagined in dreams. Dream work is regarded as the modern equivalent to the ancient Sufi teaching stories. Participants in dream meetings are encouraged to share their dreams, particularly those deemed to have a spiritual dimension.

The Naqshbandi Sufi movement was brought to the West in 1966 by Irina Tweedie, upon the death of her sheikh, Guru Bhai Sahib. He was a member of a family of Hindu Sufis that belonged to the lineage of the NaqshbandiyyaMujaddidiyya, an Indian branch of the Naqshbandiyya Sufi order. Tweedie was the first Western woman to be trained in this particular form of Sufism. Tweedie retired in 1992, and died seven year later. Her work has been continued by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. In 1991 he was sent to northern California where he founded The Golden Sufi Center, whose purpose is to make the work and teachings of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism available. Part of his work has been to integrate the traditional Sufi approach to dreamwork with the insights of modern psychology. He holds retreats and seminars in North American, Europe and Australia

Membership

In 2008 there were 500 members in American meditation groups operating in northern California; Los Angeles, California; New York City; Seattle; Boulder, Colorado; Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; North Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; New Hampshire, Michigan, and Vancouver, B.C. There were also meditation groups in a variety of locations in Germany, Switzerland, England, Spain, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina.

Sources

The Golden Sufi Center. www.goldensufi.org.

Bancroft, A. Weavers of Wisdom: Women Mystics of the Twentieth Century. London: Arkana, 1989.

Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1997.

Tweedie, Irina. Chasm of Fire: A Woman’s Experience of Liberation through the Teachings of a Sufi Master. Tisbury, UK: Element Books, 1979. Expanded version as: Daughter of Fire. Inverness, CA: The Golden Sufi Center, 1986.

Vaughan-Lee, Llewellyn. Sufism: Transformaion of the Heart. Inverness. Iverness, CA: The Golden Sufi Center, 1995.

Nimatollahi-Gonabadi Erfan Foundation

23141 Verdugo, Ste. 200, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

The Nimatollahi-Gonabadi Erfan Foundation is a branch of the Nimatollahi Sufis headed by Sultan Husayn Tabandah, Rida al Sha (b. 1914), a resident of Iran. The majority of members in the United States are Iranian Americans. In 1960 he appointed his son as khalifa and successor.

Membership

Not reported. Centers are reported in Orange County, California; Washington, D.C.; Australia; and Toronto, Canada.

Sources

Bonyad Erfan Gonabadi. www.erfan-gonabadi.com.

Hermansen, Marcia K. “Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism.” Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

The Nimatullahi Sufi Order

306 W 11th St., New York, NY 10014

Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi (also known as Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi) is the Western representative of the Nimatullahi Order of Sufis, an Iranian Sufi order named after Nur addin M. Ni’matullah (1330–1431). Ni’matullah was born in Aleppo, in present-day Syria, the son of a Sufi master, and studied with several Sufi teachers before meeting his principal teacher, Abdullah al-Yafi-i, in Mecca. After Sheikh Yafi-i’s death in 1367, Ni’matullah began a period of traveling, finally settling in Mahan, Persia (Iran), whence the order spread throughout Persia and India.

The present head of the order is Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, former head of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Teheran, Iran. Nurbakhsh brought the order to the West in the 1970s and by 1983 had established centers in London, England, and several United States cities. He also created Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications as the publishing arm of the order, and it immediately began to generate English-language Sufi materials.

Nurbakhsh defines a Sufi as one who travels the path of love and devotion towards the Absolutely Real. Knowledge of the Real is accessible only to the Perfected Ones, the prime model being Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammad, to whom Iranian Shi’ite Muslims trace their authority. Ali traveled the path as a disciple of Mohammad and became not just a spiritual master, but the qutb, or spiritual axis, for his time. The head of the Nimatullahi Order continues in the succession of spiritual masters to whom disciples can look for knowledge.

Membership

The U.S. centers are in New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, and Santa Fe. Foreign centers are located in Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Russia, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Republic of Mali, and the Ivory Coast (Africa).

Periodicals

Sufi: A Journal of Sufism.

Sources

Nurbakhsh, Javad. Discourses of the Sufi Path. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1996.

———. In the Paradise of the Sufis. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1979.

———. In the Tavern of Ruin. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1978.

———. Masters of the Path. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1980.

———. Traditions of the Prophet. New York: Kahniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1981.

———. What the Sufis Say. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1980.

Osho Mevlana Foundation

26 Billin Rd., Myocum, NSW, Australia 2482

The Osho Mevlana Foundation was founded in 1976 by Reshad Feild, the first sheikh of the Mevlana school of Sufism to travel to the West. The Mevlana lineage was initiated by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207–1272), the great thirteenth-century mystic poet. Raised as a Sufi, Rumi was an ecstatic and a visionary. He settled in Qonya, in present-day Turkey, and his tomb became the headquarters of his followers. They formally organized soon after his death.

Sufis share the basic beliefs of Islam but are organized around the leader, the sheikh, of the order who is considered the axis of the conscious universe. Rumi was especially devoted to music, and the Mevlana Order developed a musical emphasis. The order practices the zhikr, the remembrance of God, and became noted for its practice of the Turn, a dance in which individual Sufis attempted to establish a universal axis within themselves. For this practice the Mevlana became famous in popular folklore as the “whirling dervishes.”

Reshad Feild was raised in London. He studied with a Gurdjieff/Ouspensky group, as well as with the Druids, and finally became a professional spiritual healer. In the early 1960s he met Pir Vilayat Khan, leader of the Sufi Order, and was initiated as a Sufi sheikh by him. In the fall of 1969, still on a spiritual pilgrimage, Feild encountered a man referred to simply as Hamid. As a result of this encounter, he traveled to Turkey to study. While there he met Sheikh Suleyman Dede, the head of the Mevlana Order.

In 1976 Feild left Turkey and moved to Los Angeles, where he became a Sufi teacher and healer. Shortly after the move, he assisted in Dede’s visit to America. During this trip, Dede initiated Feild as the first sheikh in the West. Feild founded the Institute for Conscious Life, which later became the Mevlana Foundation.

Membership

Not reported. Groups affiliated with the foundation can be found in the United States, Canada, and England.

Sources

Feild, Reshad. Cooperation in the Three Worlds. Los Angeles: Institute for Conscious Life, 1974.

———. The Invisible Way. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979.

———. The Last Barrier. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

———. I Come from behind Kaf Mountain. Putney, VT: Threshold Books, 1984.

Qadiri Rifai Tariqa/Ansari Tariqa

PO Box 833, Nassau, NY 12123

The Qadiri Rifai Tariqa is a traditional Islamically based Sufi order that is a result of a merging of two Sufi orders. The Qadiri Tariqa was founded by the Sufi saint and scholar Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Geylani (or Jilani) (1078–1166). The Rifa Tariqa was founded by another Sufi saint, Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Ahmed er Rifa’i (1120–1183). Both the Qadiri and the Rifai Tariqas continue to exist as separate Sufi orders.

Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Muhammad Ansari, who was born in Baghdad, moved to Erzincan in northeastern Turkey in the early 1900s. He was a sheikh of the Rifai order and a descendant of the Sufi saints Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Geylani and Sheikh Ahmed er Rifai. In Turkey he met Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Abdullah Hashimi, a Rifai, with whom he studied for many years. When Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Muhammad Ansari strengthened his connection to the Qadiri Order, Sheikh Abdullah Hashimi sent him to Istanbul to establish the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa.

Sheikh Muhammad Ansari headed the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa from 1915 until his death. His son, Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Muhyiddin Ansari, born in Erzincan, succeeded him. Sheikh Muhyiddin Ansari raised 56 khalifas (representatives) and many thousand of murids (students) in Turkey and the Balkans. Sheikh Taner Ansari took biat (initiation) with him during Ramadan in 1970, and continued to train with him until Sheikh Muhyiddin Ansari died in 1978. Sheikh Muhyiddin Ansari left the tasarruf (executive power) of the order to Sheikh Nureddin Ozal. The order affirms that while raising 10 khalifas, Sheikh Nureddin Ozal served everyone with whom he came in contact with humility and love.

In May 1993 Sheikh Nureddin Ozal passed away, leaving the tasarruf of the order to Es-Seyyid Es-Sheikh Taner Ansari Tarsusi er Rifai el Qadiri. Sheikh Taner Ansari is the current pir of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa. The current headquarters of the Tariqa is in the state of New York where, under the behest of Sheikh Muhyiddin Ansari, Sheikh Taner Ansari founded the Ansari Tariqa, a new order of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa.

The Ansari Tariqa is dedicated to serving humanity as it follows the traditional methods of Sufi instruction and worship. The intention of the Sufi murid is to embody the meaning of the Holy Qur’an in his or her daily life. The murid maintains rabita (heart connection) with his or her sheikh or sheikha (guide) and cleanses the nafs (ego) through zikr (remembrance of Allah). Each student has his or her own assignment prescribed by the guide. The goal of the Sufi path is to love Allah. Students are taught how to have a loving relationship with Allah in all phases of life.

Zikr and other Sufi practices are transmitted personally down through the generations to the present sheikhs and sheikhas of the Sufi Tariqas and their students. A Sufi sheikh is a teacher of these practices who has been appointed by his or her own sheikh in a line that recedes back to Prophet Muhammad.

Ansari Tariqa is an international order. Centers are located in South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Australia, Turkey, and Mexico, as well as throughout the United States. Live classes open to the public are presented on the Internet.

Membership

Not reported. The main centers are in Berkeley, Marin County, and Los Angeles, California; and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Periodicals

Call of the Divine.

Sources

Qadiri Rifai Tariqa. www.qadiri-rifai.org.

Ansari, Taner. Alternative Healing. Nassau, NY: Ansari Publications, 2007.

———. The Sun Will Rise in the West: The Holy Trail. Nassau, NY: Ansari Publications, 2000.

———. What about My Wood! 101 Sufi Stories. Nassau, NY: Ansari Publications, 2006.

Rifa’i Marufi Sufi Fellowship/Universal Center of Light

PO Box 202, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0202

The Rifa’i Marufi Sufi Fellowship is an international Rifa’i Sufi group, and thus part of a tradition that began with Ahmed er Rifa’i (1118–1181), a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who was born and grew up in what is now Iraq. It has centers (tekkes) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; New York City; Manisa, Turkey; and Baku, Azerbaijan. It is under the international leadership of Sheikh al-Hajj Sherif erRifa’i. American work began in 1992 when Sheikh Sherif Chatalkaya came to the United States following an invitation from the Jerrahi Order of America’s center in New York City. He subsequently received an invitation to settle in North Carolina from a businessman who was a Sufi. The group’s life is built around dhikr (remembrance of God), teaching sessions, and the performance of devotional songs.

Membership

Not reported. In 1995, there were 50 members in the United States. The organization is undergoing restructuring and renaming.

Sources

Hilaamn, Hugh Talat. “A Silk Road Runs in the U.S.” Unpublished paper presented at the Islam in America Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 1995.

School of Islamic Sufism (MTO Shahmaghsoudi)

PO Box 5827, Washington, DC 20016

The School of Islamic Sufism (Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi) is the present manifestation of the Oveyssi Sufi Order. It traces its roots through a lineage of Sufi masters to Amir-al Mo’menin Ali and Oveys Gharani, who lived in Yemen at the time of Muhammad. Amir al Mo’menin, also known as Hazrat Ali, represents the essence of the teachings of the School of Islamic Sufism. He was a close companion of Muhammad’s and received the teachings of the Holy Prophet inwardly. On the other hand, Hazrat Oveys also received the teachings of Islam inwardly, and although he never physically met Muhammad, he lived by the Prophet’s principles. According to the history of the school, the Prophet would say of Hazrat Oveys, whom he never met: “I feel the breath of the Merciful, coming to me from Yemen.” Shortly before the Prophet died, he directed Omar (the second caliph) and Hazrat Ali (the first imam of the Shi’a) to take his cloak to Hazrat Oveys. This act confirmed the method of heart-to-heart communication through which Hazrat Oveys had received the essence of Islam.

The method of the passing of the cloak represents two significant elements in the teachings of the Holy Prophet that constitute the method of instruction of the School of Islamic Sufism: Cognition (understanding) must take place inwardly, and must be confirmed—as it was in the case of Hazrat Oveys, and Amir al-Mo’menin.

Since that time, the cloak and the methods of receiving knowledge through the heart (symbolizing divine illumination) and of recognizing the recipient have been handed down through an unbroken succession of Sufi masters. This process creates the only hierarchy within the School of Islamic Sufism. The designated Sufi master, called the pir, represents the essence of the Sufi Way.

The present master of the School is Molana-al-Moazam Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Shah Angha (b. 1945), also known as Hazrat Pir. Hazrat Pir is the 42nd master in a lineage dating back 1,400 years. He was born in Tehran, Iran, and was tutored by his grandfather, who was the 40th Sufi master of the Oveyssi Order, and father, Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, the Order’s 41st master.

Hazrat Pir’s duties have included the designing and supervision of the construction of the Sufi Center known as Sufi Abad, located in Karaj (close to Tehran). Following his move to the United States (with his father) in 1979, Hazrat Pir took the lead in expanding the audience for the sacred teachings. He has authored more than 50 books.

Hazrat Pir’s teaching includes the attempt to apply the knowledge of the sacred to tangible forms that become visible symbols of the creative power of the soul. One such symbol is a shrine near Novato, California, designed by Hazrat Pir as a memorial to his father. In accordance with the science of jafr (relation of letters and numbers), the dimensions of the building may be converted to letters that yield the name of his father. The shape of the roof structure represents Allah (in Arabic). All the sides of the roof join to form a summit representing the unification of the human being with God, signifying that God in the heavens can be known—in the heart, the pure elevated state of the human being.

Membership

In 1998 the school included some 400,000 adherents in a global network of centers encompassing the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

Educational Facilities

MTO College, London, England.

Sources

School of Islamic Sufism (MTO Shahmaghsoudi). www.shahmaghsoudi.org.

Hermansen, Marcia K. “Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism.” Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

Shadhiliyya-Miriamiyya

Current address could not be obtained for this edition.

Shadhiliyya-Miriamiyya is the name given to the group of students who gathered around author Frithjof Schoun (1907–1998), who studied with Sheikh Ahmad alAwadi of the Shadhiliyya-Alawiyya Sufis in Algeria. Schoun was born in Basle, Switzerland, the son of a concert violinist. During his youth, he read the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and soon found the works of French esoteric philosopher Rene Guenon. As a young man he studied Arabic, and in 1932 made his first trip to Algeria, where he met the celebrated Sheikh Ahmad al-Alawi; six years later, he traveled to Egypt, where he met Guenon. Schoun served in the French Army during World War II, became a prisoner of the Germans, and finally sought asylum in Switzerland. He lived there until moving to the United States in 1980.

Through his many books and articles Schoun became known as the leader of the traditionalist or perennialist movement, which centered on a mystical monist view of the cosmos. After emigrating to the United States, he settled in Bloomington, Indiana, where he continued to live until his death in 1998. Known to his students as Sheikh Isa Nur al-Din, he offered an eclectic Islamic Sufi tariqa (path) that, though based in Islam, included insights from Native American teachings, Hinduism, and various forms of mysticism. Additionally, at some point he had had some visionary experiences of the Virgin Mary (also a figure in Muslim teachings), and his teachings (Tariqa Miriamiyya) had a special place for her.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Borella, Jean. “Rene Guenon and the Traditionalist School.” In Modern Esoteric Spirituality, ed. Antpoine Faivre and Jacob Needleman, pp. 330–358. New York: Crossroad, 1992.

Schoun, Frithjof. The Essential Writings of Frithjof Schoun. Ed. S. H. Nasr. World Wisdom Books, 1986.

———. Islam and the Perennial Philosophy. London: World of Islam Publications, 1976.

———. Understanding Islam. London: Allan & Unwin, 1963.

Shadhiliyya Sufism

c/o Shadhuli Sufi Center of Peace and Mercy, 2531 Jackson Rd., No. 169, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

The Shadhili Path of Sufism was founded in Egypt in the thirteenth century c.e. by as-Sheikh Ali Abu-l-Hasan as-Shadhili. Currently, leadership has passed to Sheikh al-Qutb al-Gawth, the Guide of the Shadhili Path. Since 1959, the sheikh has resided at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and has been the imam at the Masjid al-Aqsa (the Dome on the Rock) for many years. The Dome on the Rock is sacred to the Holy House in Mecca for its place in the tradition of the al-Mi’raj (night journey) of the Prophet Muhammad from the Ka’ba in Mecca to the al-Aqsa Mosque and from there to the heavens. The sheikh is well known to many people both in Palestine and elsewhere in the world. In 1993 he decided that he should travel to other countries, and at the same time an order came to him from Allah to give teachings to all those in every part of the world who were sincerely seeking for the truth of their existence. Up until then the teachings had been offered only in Jerusalem.

An American following began to be created in the mid-1990s. The Sidi Muhammad Press prints materials representative of the group.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Shadhuli Sufi Center of Peace and Mercy. www.sufiheart.com.

Society for Sufi Studies

c/o The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge, Box 176, Los Altos, CA 94023

Alternate Address

Octagon Press, Box 227, London, U.K. N6 4EW.

Indries Shah (1924–1996) was a twentieth-century Sufi teacher who led a public career of note, but also became the focus of intense speculations about his true beliefs and affiliations. He was born in Simla, India, in 1924, to an Indian father and Scottish mother. Brought to England as a teenager, he would live most of his life in his adopted homeland. His father was a physician from Afghanistan (who met his mother while studying in Edinburgh), and Shah claimed a lineage that went back to the Prophet Muhammad. Shah was tutored by his father and after finishing his secondary education in England attended the Edinburgh Medical School for a period, though he did not finish his course of study.

In his thirties, he became the director of studies for the Institute for Cultural Research and began a process of teaching about Sufism. His first book on Sufism, The Sufis, appeared in 1964. It was the first of 20 on the subject. Shah was considered by his followers to be the greatest living exemplar of Sufism, but there was some debate over the source of his authority. Shah himself had to present a document to a prominent Western Sufi, John Godolphin Bennett, in support of a claim that he had been sent to the West by an esoteric school, possibly the same one that Georgei Gurdjieff represented. (Bennett was a student of Gurdjieff.) In his writings, Shah suggested that Gurdjieff was an amateur who had stumbled on some true Sufi knowledge, and by implication suggested that he (Shah) was the true inheritor of the tradition.

Ja’far Hallaji suggested that Shah was a Naqshbandi Sufi who also had the authority to initiate people in the lineage of several Sufi orders, but no acknowledged Sufi teacher emerged to back that claim. In any case, a number of people who encountered Shah’s vast writings saw him as an authoritative teacher. Shah sees Sufism as only incidentally connected to Islam and hence a more attractive set of teachings for a Western audience. Among his leading disciples in North America is psychologist Robert Ornstein.

As the actual content of the teachings is secret, details are somewhat difficult to substantiate, as is the very organization of followers of the society who operate in small groups across North America and Europe. In an early book, The Diffusion of Sufi Ideas in the West, a training program was laid out. The potential Sufi learns about Sufism and then makes contact with some Sufis. After an interview, the aspirant will be assigned some initial reading. The aspirant joins a study group or other low-demand activity. The leader begins to guide the individual, who eventually may be sent on a pilgrimage to further stimulate development. Members of study groups receive regular mailings of “Sufi stories,” which form the content of their discussions.

In the United Kingdom, Octagon Press served as a publisher and distributor of Shah’s books. In the United States, the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK) has been the principal distributor for Shah’s materials. Since the mid-1970s, ISHK has also been sponsoring research and educational programs on the human mind, and on the processes shaping one’s beliefs, institutions, and experience.

Shah suffered two heart attacks in 1988, but continued to work and write until his death at the end of 1996.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Lewis, L., ed. The Diffusion of Sufi Ideas in the West. Boulder, CO: Institute for Research on the Dissemination of Human Knowledge, 1972.

Shah, Indries. Special Problems in the Study of Sufi Ideas. Tunbridge Wells, U.K.: Society for the Understanding of the Foundation of Ideas, 1966.

———. The Sufis. New York: Jonathan Cape, 1964.

———. The Way of the Sufis. London: Octagon, 1968.

Williams, L. F. Rushbrook, ed. Sufi Studies: East and West–A Symposium in Honour of Indries Shah’s Services to Sufic Studies. New York: Dutton, 1973.

Sufi Circle

St. Lawrence of Canterbury, 655 Old Country Rd., Dix Hills, NY 11746

The Sufi Circle is a small nonsectarian Sufi society started by Ned Gandevani, a stock trader and business teacher, on Long Island, New York, in 2004. The group meets one Sunday a month and introduces participants to major Sufi principles and teachers, including transpersonal psychologist Robert Frager, Sheikh Ragib of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order; Sheikh Kabir Helminski of the Mevlevi order and co-director of the Threshold Society; and Sheikhah Fariha al Jerrahi, the guide for the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order. The group favors the teachings of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order (famous for the whirling dervishes).

The circle explores both Sufi traditions and other spiritual paths in an attempt to recognize the divine across multiple perspectives. It also runs the Rumi Sunday School for children. Members seek to serve others in need by taking part in food drives, raising funds for disaster victims, and collecting holiday toys for children.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Sufi Circle. www.suficircle.com/index.html.

Haminski, Kabir. The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation. Boston: Shambhala, 2000.

Smith, Huston, Robert Frager, and James Fadiman. Essential Sufism. New York: HarperOne, 1999.

Sufi Foundation of America

50 Sufi Rd., Torreon, NM 87061

The Sufi Foundation of America was founded in the 1980s by Adnan Sardan, a Sufi master from Iraq who has studied and been recognized for his accomplishments in five Sufi Orders: the Qadri, Nashibandi, Rafai, Mevlevi, and Malamari. Sardan understands the term Sufism to have derived from the Arabic word sufir, to be clear. When the mind and body are pure, one can see the spirit within. Murky vision is caused by attachments to belief, family, traditions, and religion. The Sufi is free of such attachments and has nothing to do with the sense world of the physical, the ego, emotions, tension, and other problems.

The Sufi exercises, including music and dancing, chanting, drumming, and whirling, develop the person and teach self-reliance. The teacher merely assists the student on his or her own path to aloneness with god.

Sardan teaches at the center in New Mexico, the major program being a two-month camp each summer. Followers are found across North America and Europe.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Sufi Foundation of America. www.sufifoundation.org.

Sarhan, Adnan. The Human Chicken. Torreon, NM: Sufi Foundation of America, 1989.

———. “The Sufi Path: Making Life Lovable and Love Livable.” Tantra 4 (1992): 33–47.

Way of the Spirit with Adnan Sardan: Remarkable Experiences Told by His Students. Torreon, NM: Sufi Foundation of America, 1989.

Sufi Ruhaniat International (Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society)

PO Box 51118, Eugene, OR 97405

HISTORY

The Sufi Ruhaniat International grew out of the work of Samuel L. Lewis (1896–1971), a Sufi teacher who was originally initiated by Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan in 1923 and is known by his religious name, Ahmed Murad Chisti. Following World War II, Lewis traveled to Africa and Asia, where he received initiations from several Sufi orders, as well as studying in Asia with a number of Buddhist and Hindu teachers. Returning to America in 1962, he began to teach and in 1966 initiated his first disciples. He found a responsive audience among the hippies of San Francisco, California, and began to teach them the spiritual dances and walks he had developed. In 1968 he met Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, son and successor to Hazrat Khan, and he and his disciples began to work with the Sufi Order.

After Lewis’s death, his disciples continued to affiliate with the Sufi Order, but during the early 1970s issues emerged that led to their separation from Pir Vilayat and their continuance as a separate movement.

BELIEFS

The teachings of the society draw upon the works of Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis. The society has developed a central focus on the path of initiation and discipleship. The purpose of initiation is fulfilled in the realization of the One, within and without. The relationship between teacher and disciple is also stressed. It exists to provide the training that leads to realization of the divine essence believed to be in each human, and leads the disciple into a life of service to God and humanity.

Lewis is most remembered for his introduction of spiritual dances and walks in the late 1960s. The dances use motion to facilitate a change in the individual dancer’s whole life, to make it whole. The dances usually combine simple dance motions with controlled breathing and a mantra (sacred words of power). They are usually done to simple rhythmic music and should lead to states of ecstasy and devotion to Allah. The first dances were derived from the dervish dances of the Middle East. The walks combined feeling, movement, and recitation of sacred phrases. Lewis also left a set of mystical writings that were published by the society. He is considered a true mystic.

ORGANIZATION

The society is headed by a board of trustees. Centers have been established around the world to teach classes in various topics for the general public and the mureeds (those on the path of initiation), and to provide settings for the practice of the spiritual dances and walks. The Center for the Dances of Universal Peace has been created to facilitate the development of new dances and the training of dance leaders.

Membership

In 2008 the society reported approximately 2,000 members in 50 countries.

Periodicals

Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society Newsletter.

Sources

Sufi Ruhaniat International. www.ruhaniat.org.

Lewis, Samuel L. In the Garden. New York: Harmony Books, 1975.

———. Introduction to Spiritual Brotherhood. San Francisco: Sufi Ismalia, 1981.

———. The Jerusalem Trilogy. Novato, CA: Prophecy Pressworks, 1975.

———. Sufi Vision and Initiation. San Francisco: Sufi Ismalia, 1986.

The Sufi Movement

Sufi Center of Washington, 1613 Stowe Rd., Reston, VA 22094-1600

Alternate Addresses

International Headquarters: 11 rue John Rehfous, 1208 Geneva, Switzerland. National Representative of Canada: 4432 John St. Vancouver, BC V5V 3X1.

The Sufi Movement emerged in 1927 following the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1892–1927), founder of the Sufi Order. Rabia Martin, a woman whom Khan had initiated and designated as his successor, was rejected by Khan’s family and his European followers. Making use of an opening provided by Khan’s not leaving a written will, the European members reorganized as the Sufi Movement and selected Maheboob Khan (1887–1948), Inayat’s brother, as its leader. He was succeeded in 1948 by a cousin, Mohammad Ali Khan (1881–1958). Mohammad Ali Khan was in turn succeeded by Musharaff Khan (1895–1967) and Fazal Inayat Khan (1942–1990), who resigned in 1982.

Following Fazal Khan’s stepping down, a collective leadership was formed, but it fell apart in 1985 and the movement split. The core of the Sufi Movement continued under the joint leadership of Hidayat Inayat Khan (b. 1917) and Murshida Shahzadi. Hidayat, a son of Hazrat Inayat, became the sole leader of the movement in 1993.

Hidayat Inayat Khan was only 10 years old when his father passed away in 1927. He later studied music in Paris at L’Ecole Normale de Musique and eventually became a professor in the Music School of Dieulefit, Drome, France, and conducted an orchestra in Haarlem in the Netherlands. He authored numerous compositions, including both secular music and a collection of Sufi hymns. He is a founding member of the European Composers’Union.

The movement closely resembles the Sufi Order, headed by Vilayat Inayat Khan, and is organized in five divisions to focus on universal worship, community, healing, symbology, and esoteric activity. The movement is based in the Netherlands, but has spread across Europe and to Canada and the United States. Members meet weekly for dhikr (worship) and classes.

Membership

Not reported. There are offices in New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Mexico, Russia, India, Norway, Germany, and Canada.

Sources

The Sufi Movement. www.sufimovement.org.

The Gathas. Katwijk, Netherlands: Servire, 1982.

Khan, Fazal Inayat. Old Thinking: New Thinking. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.

Khan, Hidayat Inayat. Sufi Teachings: Lectures from Lake O’Hara. Victoria, BC, Canada: Ekstasis Editions, 1994.

Sufi Order

Sufi Order International, 5 Abode Rd., New Lebanon, NY 12125

HISTORY

Sufism was brought to the United States in 1910 by Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan (1881–1927). An Indian-born musician, he was initiated into the Nizami branch of the Chishti Order, one of the main Sufi schools of India. (The other main branch, the Sabiri, is represented in the United States by the Chishti Order of America.) The Chishti School was brought to India from Persia, and in its new home absorbed elements of Hindu Vedantic thought that gave it a distinctive position within the Sufi world. The idea in coming to the West was to westernize the Sufi path. By bringing together East and West, it was thought, a basis for unity in the religion of love and wisdom could be laid. Doctrinal bias would be replaced by the power of mysticism.

Khan’s first initiate in the United States was Rabia Martin. Prior to World War I, Martin developed a center in San Francisco, which included among its members Samuel L. Lewis. Pir Inayat died suddenly in 1927 and succession was passed to his then 11-year-old son Vilayat. In the United States, Martin claimed the succession as the first initiate and murshid (minister). The European members and the family refused to recognize her, partly because she was female, and the American and European work separated. During the last years of her life, Martin (d. 1947) heard of and began to investigate a new Indian teacher, Meher Baba, but she died before completing her evaluation. Martin was succeeded by Ivy Oneita Duce, who became a disciple of Meher Baba and led the Sufi following entrusted to her under his care.

The Sufi Order was reintroduced to the United States in the 1960s by Pir Hazrat Vilayat Khan (b. 1916). His work on the West Coast was boosted by an encounter with Samuel Lewis. Lewis, a former member of Martin’s group, did not accept Meher Baba. After World War II, Lewis traveled to Asia and received several independent initiations and recognition as a Sufi murshid. He founded a Sufic group in San Francisco in 1966 that he brought into the Sufi Order in 1968. (Eventually, much of that work was lost when in 1977 some of Lewis’s students rejected some of Khan’s regulations for the Order and withdrew to form the Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society.) Khan succeeded in building a stable national organization during the 1970s, and has become one of the most respected and popular teachers within the loosely organized New Age Movement.

BELIEFS

The teachings of Inayat Khan have been summarized in 10 “Sufi Thoughts.” The Thoughts affirm that there is but one God, Master, Holy Book (i.e., the sacred manuscript of nature), religion, law, brotherhood, moral principle, object of praise, truth, and path. Meditation and dervish dancing are the main means to induce mystic consciousness.

The activity headed by Khan has three aspects. The Sufi Order proper is an esoteric school into which individuals accepting Khan as their spiritual counselor are admitted by initiation (Bayat). Initiates follow a study program and follow a set of personal practices, including special breathing techniques and the repetition of a wazifa (or mantrum) usually delineated at the time of initiation. The more esoteric religious activity is called the Universal Worship of the Church of All. Universal Worship is built around a liturgy developed by Inayat Khan that attempts to emphasize what is perceived as the essence of religion with in all religions. Inayat Khan initiated the building of the Universel, a temple of all religions, in France shortly before his death. The Healing Order is built around the group healing ritual developed by Inayat Khan. Under Vilayat, the healing work has pushed the Sufi Order into the middle of the holistic health movement that became a prominent part of the larger New Age movement during the 1970s.

ORGANIZATION

The American work of the Sufi Order is headed by Pir Khan and a board of trustees, which controls the property and assets of the Order. An Interstate Council, consisting of the trustees and representatives of all the branches of the Order, oversees financial transactions and coordinates programs. Center and branch leaders are appointed by Pir Khan. The on-going administration of the Order is in the hands of a secretary general. Internationally, the Sufi Order is headquartered in France, with national branches in England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, India, and Canada. Within the United States, the order is headquartered at the Abode of the Message, a community near Lebanon Springs, New York, located on the site of a former Shaker Village.

Membership

Not reported. There are centers across the United States and Canada.

Periodicals

The Message • Under the Wings • Ziraat.

Sources

Sufi Order. www.sufiorder.org.

De Jong-Keesing, Elisabeth. Inayat Khan. The Hague, the Netherlands: East-West Publications Fonds B. V., 1974.

Initiation. Lebanon Springs, NY: Sufi Order, 1980.

The Sufi Order. New Lebanon, NY: Message, Sufi Order, 1977.

Toward the One. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

Inayat Khan, Vilayat. The Message in Our Time. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978.

The Threshold Society

270 Quarter Horse Ln., Watsonville, CA 95076

The Threshold Society was founded by members of the Mevlevi Order, which emerged from the life and work of the great mystic poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (d. 1273), possibly the most famous Sufi among non-Muslims. The late Dr. Celalettin Celebi (d. 1996) of Istanbul, Turkey, the international head of the Mevlevi Tariqa (order) and a direct descendant of Rumi, appointed Dr. Edmund Kabir Helminski as a representative of the order in North America. Helminski is a Mevlevi sheikh, appointed to that position by Sheikh Suleyman Loras (d. 1985) of Konya, Turkey (whose son, Sheikh Jelaluddin Loras, was active in building a following for the order on the American West Coast). Helminski and his wife, Dr. Camille Helminski, have been working within the Mevlevi tradition for some two decades. They cofounded the Threshold Society, and the related Threshold Books, a publishing house focused on Sufi and related contemporary spiritual writings. Kabir Helminski is the author/translator of three books of Sufi poetry, and he and Camille Helminski have edited two collections of Rumi’s writings.

The most distinctive aspect of Mevlevi Sufis is the Sema ritual, from which they have earned their popular designation as Whirling Dervishes. Just as the kirtan practiced by members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has often been the image people have of Hinduism, so too the whirling ritual of the Mevlevi, which can be traced back to Rumi, has become the image of Sufism for many. Mevlevis maintain that by revolving in harmony with all things in nature, the believer testifies to the existence and majesty of the Creator, thinks of him, gives thanks to him, and prays to him. It is their belief that revolving is the fundamental condition of our existence, as all beings are comprised of revolving electrons, protons, and neutrons in atoms, and human beings live by means of a set of revolutions—of these particles, of the blood in one’s body, and ultimately of the stages of one’s life.

The ritual attempts to unite the three fundamental components of human nature: the mind (as knowledge and thought), the heart (through the expression of feelings, poetry, and music), and the body (by activating life, by the turning). It represents the human being’s spiritual journey, an ascent by means of intelligence and love to Perfection (Kemal). Turning toward the truth, the believer grows through love, transcends the ego, meets the truth, and arrives at Perfection.

The Threshold Society, as an outpost of the Mevlevi Order, has set as its purpose the facilitating of the experience of divine unity, love, and wisdom in the world. The society offers training programs, seminars, and retreats in North America and around the world. These are intended to provide a structure for practice and study within Sufism and spiritual psychology. The order is working to apply traditional Sufi principles to the conditions of contemporary life.

In May of 1994 at a conference in Konya, Turkey, on “Mevlana and Human Rights,” a gathering of eminent cultural and spiritual figures declared the Threshold Mevlevi Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, “New Konya” in recognition of the work of the Threshold Society and Threshold Books in spreading Rumi’s message of universal love. Following the death in 1996 of Dr. Celalettin Celebi, Faruk Hemdem Celebi, his son, succeeded him as leader of the Mevlevi Order. In 1999 Edmund and Carmille Helminski moved to California, where they now run the Threshold Society independently of Faruk Celebi.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Threshold Society. www.sufism.org/.

Helminski, Kabir. An Anthology of Translations and Versions of Jalaluddin Rumi. Brattleboro, VT: Threshold Books, 1998.

———. Jewels of Remembrance: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance: Containing 365 Selections from the Wisdom of Rumi by Jalal Al-Din Rumi. Brattleboro, VT: Threshold Books, 1996.

———. The Knowing Heart. Boston: Shambala, 2000.

———. Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self. Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher, 1992.

Helminski, Kabir, and Camille Helminski, trans. Rumi: Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance. Brattleboro, VT: Threshold Books, 1995.

Tijaniyya Sufi Path

Current address could not be obtained for this edition.

The Tijaniyya Sufi Path is known as the “Muhammadan spiritual way” (Tariqa Muhammadiyya) because its practices are based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Tijani litanies consist of three principles mandated by the Islamic Revelation and widely reported sayings of the Prophet Muhammad: asking God for forgiveness (astaghfirullah), offering prayers to the Prophet (salat ‘ala-n-nabi), and affirming the Oneness of God by saying “There is nothing worthy of worship but God.” The Tijaniyya places special emphasis on the “Prayer of Opener,” which provides access to the continued spiritual guidance of the Muhammadan Reality. But Tijanis do not value this more than the Qur’an, which they hold to be the best form of dhikr, or remembrance.

Tijaniyya was founded by Sheikh Abu Abbas Ahmad al-Tijani al-Hassani (1737–1815), a descendant of the Prophet (sharif) and a scholar known for his piety, generosity, and knowledge of the Islamic sciences. In his early years Sheikh Tijani traveled widely in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and the Hijaz in search of knowledge. He practiced the litanies of many Sufi orders in turn: various branches of the Shadhiliyya, the Qadiriyya, and the Khalwatiyya. After refusing to be invested with spiritual authority in any Sufi order, Sheikh Tijani eventually agreed to become an instructor of the Khalwatiyya under Egyptian Sheikh Mahmud alKurdi. In 1784, Sheikh Tijani received the first of many waking meeting with the Prophet Muhammad.

The Prophet told Sheikh Tijani to leave all his previous Sufi affiliations and ordered him to found a new Sufi order. All litanies of the order, both obligatory and supererogatory, were thus dictated to Sheikh Tijani directly from the Prophet, who told him that anybody who became initiated into the Tijani order would become a disciple of the Prophet Muhammad himself. By 1798, Sheikh Tijani had been so invested by God through the Prophet that he had attained the two highest positions in the Sufi hierarchy of saints: the Seal of Muhammadan Sainthood and the Pole of Poles. He required his followers to exalt the honor of all saints, and claimed no preeminence over the living companions of the Prophet. Doctrinally speaking, the Tijaniyya emphasizes classic Sufi doctrines such as thanksgiving, asceticism, subsistence in God, and kindness toward God’s creation.

In the years since Sheikh Tijani died, the movement has been led by a succession of leaders, including Sheikh Umar Futi; Sheikh Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Tijani, a Mauritanian who brought the Tariqa to West Africa for the first time; Sheikh alHajj Abdullah Niasse, the father of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse; Sheikh al-Hajj Malik Sy; and Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse (1990–1975), who was widely recognized as possessing fayda, the flood of spiritual grace enabling access to Divine gnosis foretold by Sheikh Tijani. A majority of Tijanis in the world today trace their initiation through Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse.

The Tijaniyya was introduced into the United States in 1976 by Alhamdulillah Sheikh Hassan Cisse (b. 1945), the grandson and spiritual heir of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse. Sheikh Cisse holds degrees in Islamic studies and Arabic literature from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and a master of philosophy from the University of London. His pursuit of a Ph.D. in Islamic studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was interrupted when his father, Sayyidi Ali Cisse, passed away, and he returned to Senegal to become the imam of Sheikh Ibrahim’s community

Membership

Not reported. The Tijaniyya has major centers in New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Memphis, Tennessee, with new communities in many other major cities. It has also spread to the Caribbean and South America in recent years.

Sources

Tijaniyya Sufi Path. www.tijani.org.

Nasr, Jamil M. Abun. The Tijaniyya. London: Oxford, 1964.

Wright, Zachary. On the Path of the Prophet. New York: African American Islamic Institute, 2005.

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Sufism

Sufism

Sufism (Arabic: tasawwuf ) is the term used in English for Islamic mysticism, initially a movement of pious individuals and later of institutionalized mystical orders widely dispersed throughout the Muslim world.

The first teacher in the Sufi tradition came to the United States in 1912. This was Hazrat Inayat Khan of India, a Sufi in the Chishti lineage who married an American, although he eventually settled in Europe. His son, Pir Vilayat Khan, revived the movement in the 1960s under the name "Sufi Order in the West" or "Message in our Time." This Sufi movement, like a number of others to emerge in the United States, emphasized the spiritual element of the Islamic tradition and an essential truth at the core of all human religious experience. The formal requirements of the Islamic law and adherence to mainstream Islam were not required of followers. Some consider the early impact of such movements in the West to have arisen as part of an attraction to "Oriental wisdom" while their reflowering in the 1960s was due to the appeal of New Age spiritual eclecticism.

The United States has also been fertile ground for the Perennialist movement, a number of whose followers have strong links to Sufism. Academics such as Huston Smith and Seyyed Hossein Nasr have advocated the pursuit of a perennial truth and sympathetically presented Islamic teachings in the light of inner or mystical understandings. Frithjof Schuon (1998), a Swiss who ultimately settled in Bloomington, Indiana, was influential in disseminating a strand of this "Perennialist" or "traditionalist" understanding. At the same time he functioned as the head of a Sufi order known as the Miriamiyya, a branch of the Shadhili Order.

Another movement functioning in the United States that claims inspiration from the Naqshbandi Sufi Order is that of the followers of the late British writer Idries Shah (1997) and his brother Omar Ali Shah. Idries Shah was a prolific writer on esoteric themes and a popularizer of the Sufi teaching story epitomized by the wise fool character of Mulla Nasruddin. Idries Shah became a well-known and successful author and was influential in literary and psychological circles in both the United States and Europe. His successor in the United States is Stanford University psychologist Robert Ornstein. In the 1960s Ornstein, along with others such as Charles Tart, brought the ideas of attaining self-realization based on Eastern religious or Western esotericist approaches to consciousness into the foreground of third wave transpersonal psychology embraced by the counterculture movement of that time.

During the 1970s, changes in American immigration policy facilitated increased immigration from Asia and the Middle East. This brought Sufi groups more strongly affiliated with the practice of the Islamic religion and its law to America. Some of these groups, mainly based in large urban centers and serving a primarily immigrant constituency, continue to function much as they did in the original cultural context.

Other Sufi groups, which I have termed "hybrid" movements due to their appeal and adaptation to a broader American community, teach the practice of Islam as part of the spiritual training of Sufism. The most notable of these movements are the Naqshbandi Haqqani Order, the Helveti Jerrahi Order, and the Guru Baba Muwaihideen Fellowship.

The constituencies and the membership of these various American Sufi movements vary, since they represent diverse religious and social orientations. The Sufi Order in the West and the Idries Shah Movement have had a broader impact on mainstream American culture due to their publishing activities and outreach to other communities through transpersonal psychology, holistic health, and Sufi dancing. Members do not have to make radical lifestyle or social adjustments and tend to be white, middle-class spiritual seekers. Interest in these movements probably peaked in the mid-1970s. While the Sufi Order claims that ten thousand persons have taken an initiation with Pir Vilayat Khan, many more Americans have attended Sufi seminars or camps or have read their publications.

Perennialist or "traditionalist" Sufism along the lines of the writings of Schuon, Nasr, and Houston Smith has also reached a broad American cultural audience through media such as television interviews with Bill Moyers and publishing activities in both scholarly and popular contexts. The impact of these movements is primarily through ideas rather than due to participation in organized movements.

In the case of the hybrid or Islamic Sufi orders, impact on mainstream American culture is less significant, since the ideas propounded are more specific to Muslim concerns. The Naqshbandi Haqqani Order has twenty-two branches nationwide and a membership estimated at twelve thousand. It has become increasingly prominent in the immigrant Muslim community and has sponsored two "Islamic Unity Conferences," in Los Angeles (1996) and in Washington, D.C. (1998), each attended by several thousand U.S.-based and international delegates. Since Sufi interpretations of Islam—for example, the idea of charismatic leadership and the intercession of pious saints (auliya)—are not accepted by all Muslims, it should not be thought that such movements are supported by the entire American Muslim community. At the same time, many non-Sufi Muslims appreciate their success in drawing Americans to Islam.

Sufi practices involving prayer and meditation have required little adaptation to the American context. At the same time, the gender segregation in public and religious contexts practiced in many Muslim societies has been moderated among American participants. The traditional Sufi practice of pilgrimage to the tombs or shrines of departed Sufis has been transplanted to the American context, as the first generation of leadership, including Murshid Samuel Lewis (New Mexico), Guru Bawa (Pennsylvania), and Shah Magsoud (California), has been memorialized in American soil.

Sufism is practiced in both the Shi'i and Sunni branches of Islam, and a number of Shi'i Orders, including the Ni'matullahi and the Oveyssi-Shahmaghsoudi, have followings in both the Iranian émigré and the American communities. Sufism has had a proportionately smaller impact among African-American Muslims, although some interest has been sparked by activities of the Tijaniyya, an Africa-based order, and by the Naqshbandi Haqqani Order, which probably has the most diverse following among the Sufi orders in the United States.


See alsoBaba Muwaihideen; Islam; Mysticism; New Age Spirituality.

Bibliography

Hermansen, Marcia K. "In the Garden of American Sufi Movements: Hybrids and Perennials." In NewTrends and Developments in the World of Islam, edited by Peter B. Clarke. 1997.

Jervis, James. "The Sufi Order in the West and Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan." In New Trends and Developments in the World of Islam, edited by Peter B. Clarke. 1997.

Webb, Gisela. "Sufism in America." In America's Alternative Religions, edited by Timothy Miller and Harold Coward. 1995.

Webb, Gisela. "Tradition and Innovation in Contemporary American Islamic Spirituality: The Bawa Muhaiyadeen Fellowship." In Muslim Communitiesin North America, edited by Yvonne Y. Haddad and Jane I. Smith. 1994.

Marcia K. Hermansen

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Sufism

Sufism

2110

Arica School

c/o Arica Institute, Inc.
10 Landmark Ln.
Kent, CT 06757

The Arica School was founded in 1968 by Oscar Ichazo as a School of Knowledge. The school provides a contemporary method of enlightenment, which employs biology, psychology, and physics in order to clarify human consciousness with modern knowledge that produces freedom and liberation.

The knowledge that the Arica School teaches, originated by Ichazo, is called the protoanalytical theory, system, and method. Protoanalysis refers to the analysis of the complete human being, starting from the lowest aspects of the human process and progressing systematically to the higher states of consciousness, where enlightenment may be attained. The Arica School provides a clearly defined map of the human psyche to assist each person to discover the basis of their ego process and to transcend this process into a higher state of consciousness that can be found in every individual. This state of being is a person's True Essential Self, which is experienced as an internal state of great happiness, light, and liberation, according to the school.

The Arica School presents nine levels of trainings and practices designed to clarify, step-by-step, the shared human processes, while at the same time introducing knowledge to assist in attaining the higher states of the True Essential Self. Each level defines, analyzes, and process the psychological aspects of the human psyche or ego by which one gains perspective and understanding about one's self and others. The school teaches that from this perspective, it is possible for individuals to clarify their own life experiences, which produces a state of self-observation and nonattachment. When the mind is stabilized through perspective, understanding, and self-observation, then meditations enable the transcending of everyday experiences into the higher states of mind, where enlightenment and real freedom can be attained.

While Ichazo's teachings are best known for their relationship to Georgei Gurdjieff's teachings, he has an eclectic background and had studied with a variety of spiritual masters prior to founding Arica. In 1991, he was given the Award of Excellence by United Nations Society of Writers. The institute's Internet site is http://www.arica.org.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Arica Day of Unity Report.

Sources:

Ichazo, Oscar. Arica Psycho-Calisthenics. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976.

——. The Human Process for Enlightenment and Freedom. New York: Arica Institute, 1976.

——. The 9 Ways of Zhikr Ritual. New York: Arica Institute, 1976.

Interviews with Oscar Ichazo. New York: Arica Institute Press, 1982.

2111

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship

5820 Overbrook Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19131

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship was founded in 1971. Shaikh M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen was a Sri Lankan Sufi teacher said to be over a hundred years old. In the 1930s he was discovered by pilgrims in the Kataragama Forest, and the Serendib Study Group was established in Colombo, the capial of Sri Lanka. He was first brought to Philadelphia in 1971 by a disciple, and as a group began to recognize him as their spiritual teacher, the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship was organized. During the next years until his death in 1986 he traveled between Philadelphia and Sri Lanka.

Bawa saw himself not as the teacher of a new religion, but as dealing with the essence of all religion. He taught the unity of God and human unity in God. A Sufi is one who has lost the self in the Solitary Oneness that is God. It is the individual's sole duty to take the 3,000 qualities of God with in him/herself. The soul is the point of divine wisdom at which the consciousness of individuals is known as being one with God. From this point the individual realizes God.

The conditions leading to God realizations are the following:1) the constant affirmation that nothing but God exists; 2) the continual elimination of evil from one's life; and 3) the conscious effort to become God's qualities—patience, tolerance, peacefulness, compassion, and the assumption that all lives should be treated as one's own. The conditions lead naturally to the practice of dhikr, the remembrance of God.

Headquarters of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship is located in a large house in a residential section of Philadelphia where public meetings are held daily. Also on the grounds is the Mosque of Shaikh M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, where the traditional five times of prayer and the Friday congregational prayers are held regularly. In addition, one house west of the Philadelphia center is the mazaar (tomb) of M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen that is open for visitation. Over the years more than 20 books about his teachings have been published by The Fellowship Press. Also available are numberous audio and video cassettes of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen's discourses.

Membership: Not reported. In 1982 there were nine fellowship groups in the United States and two in Canada, and 3,000 members worldwide. There were four branches in Sri Lanka and one in Great Britain.

Sources:

Muhaiyaddeen, M.R. Guru Bawa, Shaikh. God, His Prophets and His Children. Philadelphia: Fellowship Press, 1978.

——. The Guidebook. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Fellowship Press, 1976.

——. Mata Veeram, or the Forces of Illusion. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1982.

——. Truth and Light. Guru Bawa Fellowship of Philadelphia, 1974.

——. The Truth and Unity of Man. Philadelphia: Fellowship Press, 1980.

2112

Bektashi Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Bektashi Order of Sufis emerged in the Muslim community of Albania some 700 years ago, prior to the conquest of the country by the Ottoman Empire. Over the centuries it earned a reputation for its respect for other religions, for its allowance of participation by women, for the beauty of its spiritual poetry, and for its support of Albanian independence from the Turkish conquerors.

The Bektashi Order was brought to the United States by Baba Rexheb (1901–1995), an Albanian refugee who had left his homeland during World War II and finally settled on a farm near Detroit, Michigan, where he established a monastery in 1953. Rexheb was raised in Gjirokaster in southern Albania. He completed studies in Islamic theology, law, and literature and was fluent in a number of languages—Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Greek, and Italian— besides his native Albanian. At 21 he became a celibate Bektashi dervish. He was forced to flee in 1944 because of opposition to communism. When he finally made his way to the United States, he established the first Albanian-American Teqe Bektashiane Bektashi center. He built his primary following among Albanian Americans.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Trix, Frances. Spiritual Discourse: Learning with an Islamic Master. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

2113

Beshara School of Intensive Esoteric Education

Chisholme House
Roberton, Nr. Hawick
Roxburghshire, Scotland
UK TD9 7PH

The Beshara School of Intensive Esoteric Education (also known as the Beshara Foundation) was founded in 1971 at Swyre Farm in Gloucestershire, England. It is dedicated to the study of the writings of Muhyiddin Ibn'Arabi, a twelfth-century mystic born in Andalucia, Spain. Ibn'Arabi authored over 300 books, most growing out of his intense experience of God. He taught that there was only One Absolute Being, apart from which there is no other existence. He saw the unity of existence as the essence of all religion, a belief which causes many of his Islamic contemporaries and critics to judge him a pantheist.

The Beshara School has constructed a program which assists people in understanding their personal existence as an aspect of the One Reality. From the orginal center, other facilities were purchased throughout England. In the 1980s Sherborne House, which had served as the center of John Godolphin Bennett's work, was purchased and now serves as the international headquarters. Additional centers were opened in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia. The Beshara School came to the United States when a center was opened in Berkeley, California in 1976. The American center has developed a study program, publishes the works of Ibn'Arabi, and holds a variety of workshops which apply his ideas to everyday life.

Membership: Not reported. There are contacts located in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Indone sia, Israel, Netherlands, and Spain.

Sources:

al-'Arabi, Ibn. The Bezels of Wisdom. New York: Paulist Press, 1980.

——. Sufis of Andalucia. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971.

Landau, Ron. The Philosophy of Ibn 'Arabi. London: Allen and Unwin, 1959.

2114

Burhaniyya Sufi Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Burhaniyya Sufi Order is a popular Sufi group in Egypt and the Sudan. In the 1980s members of this group moved to Canada and settled in Montreal. A center was formally organized in 1987 which now includes both first generation immigrants and some recent converts. Worship is held on Saturday evenings.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

McDonough, Sheila. "Muslims in Montreal." In Muslim Communities in North America by Yvonne Haddad and Jane Idleman Smith. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1994, pp. 321-22.

2115

Chishti Order of America

PO Box 7249
Endicott, NY 13761

The Chishti Order of America is one of several Sufi groups in the United States which traces its origins to the Chishti Order, one of the four main branches of Sufism. The Chishti Order was founded by Khwaja Abu Ishaq Chishti, who settled at Chishti in Khurasan in what is present-day Iran during the tenth century. The lineage of leaders of the Chishti Order stayed in Persia until the succession of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti (1142-1236), the most renowned saint in the order's history. He took the order to India and is regarded as the true founder of the modern order.

Khwaja Muinuddin was born in Sistan, Persia, and raised as a Sufi. The constant warfare he witnessed during his early life reinforced the mystic tendencies he inherited through his family. He studied with Hazrat Khwara Usman Harvani, a teaching master of the Chishti Order, for twenty years and was, upon his departure, granted the khalifat, or succession, of his teacher. He traveled to Lahore and Delhi before settling in Ajmer, then the seat of an important Hindu state. He became a major force in establishing Islam in India. His tomb in Ajmer is sacred shrine as well as the location of the international headquarters of the order.

Over the centuries various leaders of the order have founded new branches. The two most important are the Nizami (founded by Nizamu'd-Din Mahbubiilahi) and the Sabiri (founded by Makhdum Ala'u'di-Din Ali Ahmad Sabiri). Both orders were started by students of Baba Farid Shakarganilj in the thirteenth century. The Chishti Order of America derives its lineage from the Sabiri branch of the Chishti Order. The Nizami branch is represented in America by the Sufi Order (see separate entry).

The Chishti Order of America was founded in 1972 by Hakim G. M. Chishti as the Chishti Sufi Mission, an affiliate of the Chishti Sufi Mission Society of India in Ajmer. Hakim was a student of Mirza Wahiduddin Begg who was the senior teacher at Ajmer during the 1970s. When Begg died in 1979, Hakim was granted his succession, a fact confirmed in a ceremony in Ajmer in 1980. At the same time, the Chishti Sufi mission was renamed the Chishti Order of America.

Khwaja Muinuddin stressed the essence of Sufism as the apprehension of Divine reality through spiritual means and the suppression of the lower self. He taught the need of devotion to one's spiritual master (Pir) as a necessity for salvation. He also stressed the obligation of humanitarian action in the face of the caste system

Membership: Not reported. In 1981 sheihks of the order were to be found in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Sources:

Begg, W. D. The Holy Biography of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti. Tucson, AZ: Chishti of Mission of America, 1977.

2116

Claymont Society for Continuous Education

Rt. 1, Box 279
Charles Town, WV 25414

John Godolphin Bennett (1897-1974) met Georgei Gurdjieff in 1921 in Constantinople, where Bennett was serving in the British Army. He continued his off-and-on relationship with Gurdjieff until the latter's death in 1949. He subsequently authored a number of books which discussed his work with Gurdjieff and advocated his Fourth Way system. However, he was not bound by Gurdjieff, and in his mature years he also became enthusiastic about both Subud (discussed elsewhere in this chapter) and the yoga of Shivapuri Baba, an Indian teacher. He wrote an important book introducing each to the English-speaking world.

Bennett claimed that Gurdjieff had left him a commission as a teacher of the Gurdjieff system to the world. Bennett's interest in Sabud, for example, was prompted by his belief that Bapak Subuh, it founder, was identical with Ashiata Shiemash, a coming prophet of conscience, spoken of in Gurdjieff's book, All and Everything. Bennett also came to believe that humanity had reached the point in evolution that individuals could assume responsibility for its future course. Through spiritual training, individuals could become transformed and in the process begin to transform the world.

In 1971, to put his ideas into action, Bennett founded the International Academy for Continuous Education at Sherborne, Gloucestershire, near Oxford. The core of the program at Sherborne House consisted of a ten-month resident intensive based directly on Gurdjieff. Bennett died in 1974, and the following year the center was closed.

However, beginning with Bennett's American tour in 1971, and the subsequent circulation of his books in the United States, a cadre of American students arose. In 1975 some of those students picked up the thrust of Sherborne House and created the Claymont Society and School in West Virginia. Under the leadership of Pierre Elliot, who had worked with Gurdjieff's prime student Peter Demainovitch Ouspensky and then with Bennett for many years, the Claymont Society has established a community and continued the transformative thrust begun by Bennett. Beginning with Gurdjieff's and Bennett's teachings and methods, the group has incorporated a variety of techniques, especially those of the Khwajagan, Sufi teachers of Central Asia.

The Society is designed to function as a "Fourth Way" school, i.e., a community whose members are working together towards human transformation with in the context of a task to be realized in the world. The particular task is the building of a community capable of surviving under harsh economic and social conditions and to educate others to do likewise. It is seeking to become self-sufficient economically and organizationally and is building an economic base in farming, cottage industry and in managing a school for interested outsiders to learn the life of the community and the transformative teachings which underly its existence.

The Claymont School provides the basic ten-month program developed for Sherborne House, plus a variety of more inclusive programs offered by other teachers from compatible Sufi, Hasidic, and Eastern perspectives. Coombe Springs Press continues from the Sherborne House establishment as publishers of Bennett's books and other literature of a related perspective. In the United States, Claymont Communications distributes Coombe Springs publications as well as Bennett's material published by others.

Membership: Not reported. The society has a potential for supporting 200 families on its present West Virginia acreage. Less than 100 currently reside there.

Sources:

Bennett, John G. Creative Thinking. Sherborne, England: Coombe Springs Press, 1964.

——. Enneagram Studies. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1983.

——. Gurdjieff, Making a New World. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

——. Is There "Life" on Earth? New York: Stonehill Publishing Company, 1973.

——. Witness. Tucson, AZ: Omen Press, 1974.

2117

Fellowship of Friends

PO Box 100
Dragon House, CA 22020

The Fellowship of Friends, founded in San Francisco in 1970 by Robert E. Burton, is a school of spiritual development in the Fourth Way tradition. The Fourth Way, a psychological system that has existed, in one form or another, for thousands of years, was expounded in the twentieth century by Georgei Gurdjieff, and developed and continued by Peter Demainovitch Ouspensky and Rodney Collin. Central to the tradition is self-remembering, an active form of meditation in which students attempt to become more aware of themselves and their surroundings in each moment of their daily lives. Ouspensky wrote that man, as he is, "is not a complicated being; that nature takes him only up to a certain point and then leave him, to develop further by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die such as he was born." According to the Fourth Way, individuality, consciousness, conscience, free will, and an immortal soul are attributes that a man mistakenly believes he already possesses, but must instead be acquired by special work with in a group of people who share the same aim.

Apollo, the main center of the Fellowship of Friends, is a 1,250-acre site in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. About a third of the fellowship's members live at Apollo. Other members live in more than 60 fellowship centers worldwide.

At Apollo students have opportunities to apply and verify the truth of the teachings. Such opportunities often include meetings, dinners, concerts, theater, and practical labor in the gardens, vineyard, or kitchens. The fellowship emphasizes the arts, and students come to understand how higher spiritual states can be created through beautiful and harmonious forms. The emphasis on the arts inspired, among other projects, the Apollo Opera, which draws most of its participants from Apollo, with guest singers and musicians from across California and the nation.

The fellowship owns Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, one of the largest mountain wineries in North America. Fellowship members cleared the 365-acre vineyard and planted the vines; they continue to prune vines, harvest grapes, and produce fine wines. The award-winning winery now produces approximately 20-30,000 cases per year.

Membership: As of 2002, the fellowship had approximately 2,200 members, approximately 700 of whom lived at Apollo. The remainder are in centers in Taipei, Venice, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Paris, London, Mexico City, and other cities worldwide.

Sources:

Burton, Robert E. Self-Remembering. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1991, 1995. 216 pp.

2118

Gurdjieff Foundation

85 St. Elmo Way
San Francisco, CA 94127

Georgei Gurdjieff (d. 1949) was a modern spiritual teacher greatly influenced by Sufism, but who blended it, with other spiritual teachings, into a unique philosophy which have in the several decades since his death become the springboard for a host of variations. Born in the 1870s in a small town on the Armenian-Turkish border, Gurdjieff studied the mysticism of Greek Orthodoxy and developed an interest in both science and the occult prior to leaving home as a young man. He began a period of wanderings that took him from Tibet to Ethiopia as a member of a legendary band, the Seekers of the Truth, in quest of esoteric wisdom. A significant period was spent among the Turkish Sufi masters.

In 1912 he surfaced in Moscow where he met his most important disciple, Peter Demainovitch Ouspensky. With his students, he left Russia as the revolution was beginning and settled in Paris, where in 1922 he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Here, the unknown and the famous gathered to study with Gurdjieff. Among his students were Alexander de Salzmann and his wife Jeanne de Salzmann, author Katherine Mans-field, writer/editor A. R. Orage, and Maurice Nicoll.

Gurdjieff taught that humans are asleep, that they are operated like puppets by forces of which they have no awareness. He looked for individuals who had awakened to their contact with the higher force that brought direct awareness (and hence some degree of control) of the other forces of their environment. Gurdjieff developed a variety of techniques to assist the awakening process. Possibly the most famous were the Gurdjieff movements, a series of dancelike exercises. He also generated considerable controversy for placing students in situations of tension and conflict designed to force self-conscious awareness. The system required an individual teacher-student relationship almost of necessity. It came to be known as the "fourth" way, the way of encounter with ordinary life, as opposed to the other ways of the yogi, monk or fakir. The way was symbolized by the enneagram, a nine-pointed design in a circle.

Two years after the opening of the Institute, Gurdjieff toured America with his students presenting demonstrations of the movements. He found a ready audience among people who had read Ouspensky's book, Tertium Organum (1920) and/or who had been influenced by Orage. The genesis of his American following dates from this trip. Gurdjieff closed the Institute in 1933, but continued to teach and to write for the rest of his life. Most of his writings were circulated privately to his students. Only one book, The Herald of Coming God, was published before his death. His writings include Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson and Meetings with Remarkable Men (which was recently made into a film by Peter Brook).

During his last days, Gurdjieff spent much time with long-time pupil Jeanne de Salzmann, who following Gurdjieff's death founded the Gurdjieff Foundation in Paris. This became the model for similar structures around the world. Instrumental in the spreading of the work in the United States was John Pentland (1907-1984) who had studied with both P. D. Ouspensky and Madame Ouspensky in the 1930s and 1940s. He became the president of the Gurdjieff Foundation established in New York in 1953 and assisted in bringing forth the English-language editions of Gurdjieff's and Ouspensky's writings. He collaborated in establishing Gurdjieff societies in major metropolitan areas in the United States and in 1955 he founded the Gurdjieff Foundation of California of which he was president until his death.

Membership: Not reported. The foundation has centers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and most major cities.

Sources:

Driscoll, J. Walter. Gurdjieff, An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1985.

Gurdjieff, Georges I. Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. 3 vols. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1978.

——. Life is Only Then, When "I Am". New York: E.P. Dutton, 1982.

——. Meetings with Remarkable Men. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1963.

Ouspensky, P. D. The Fourth Way. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957.

——. A New Model of the Universe New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931.

Speeth, Kathleen Riordan. The Gurdjieff Work. Berkeley, CA: And/Or Press, 1976.

Speeth, Kathleen Riordan, and Ira Freidlander. Gurdjieff, Seeker of Truth. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.

Webb, James. The Harmonious Circle. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1980.

2119

Habibiyya-Shadhiliyya Sufic Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Habibiyya-Shadhiliyya Sufic Order originated with Shaikh Muhammed Ibn al-Habib, termed Perfect Shaikh and Gnostic of Allah. The Shadhiliyya Order originated in the thirteenth century with Shaikh Al Shadhili of Fez, Morocco, and subsequently divided into a number of sub-orders of which the Habibiyya is one. Al-Habib is designated the Qutb (head of the spiritual hierarchy of saints) and is venerated as the Light of the Messenger. Followers are urged to annihilate themselves in him. He is the author of the Diwan, a poetic presentation of his teachings.

Al-Habib speaks of God as the beloved; the goal of life is immersion in him. The way of the world is "Jahiliyya," pride and arrogance. Islam's way is submission and the recognition of our place in the harmonious whole. The main practice of the Habibiyya is Dhikr'Allah (or zhikr), the invocation, remembering and calling upon Allah.

The Habibiyya came to the United States in 1973 and opened a center in Berkeley, California. In 1977 the order claimed 5,000 American members. However, no work in the United States has been visible during the 1980s and its present status is unknown.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

The Sufic Path. Berkeley, CA: Privately printed, n.d.

2120

Institute for Religious Development

7 Chardavogne Rd.
Warwick, NY 19990

Dr. Willem A. Nyland, a Dutch chemist and founding trustee of the Gurdjieff Foundation, left the foundation in 1960 to found his own group, the Institute for Religious Development. He had studied with Georgei Gurdjieff from 1924 to 1949 and with Gurdjieff's disciple, A. C. Orage. The group is headquartered in Warwick, New York, where meetings, movements and work days are conducted. Dr. Nyland died in 1975, and his students now carry on his work. Emphasis is on the practical application of Gurdjieff's ideas.

Membership: Not reported. Affiliated groups can be found in New York City; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; Sebastopol, California; Boston, Massachussets; Austin, TX; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are also groups in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Sources:

Nyland, Wilhem. Firefly. Warwick, NY: The Author, [1965].

Popoff, Irmis B. Gurdjieff Group Work with Wilhem Nyland. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1983.

2121

Institute for the Development of the Harmonious Human

Being

Box 370
Nevada City, CA 95959

In the early 1960s the Institute for the Development of the Harmonious Human Being emerged to present the teachings of E. J. Gold. The teachings and practices, whose theme is voluntary evolution as preparation for service to the Absolute, have been constantly refined and developed over the years through intensive research and work. Among the important, though by no means exclusive, sources which Gold drew upon have been the teachings of Georgei Gurdjieff. The hallmark of Gold's teachings, as presented in his numerous books, is the representation of the being or Essential Self as neither awake nor asleep, but identified, in ordinary life, with the body, emotions and psyche—collectively termed "the machine," which is asleep. In relation to the Essential self, the machine has a transformational function, but only if it is brought into an awakened state.

The awakened state can be brought about by practices and/or special living conditions with in a lifestyle based upon the correct use of attention upon, and attitudes towards, the machine's psycho-physical activities. Long-term, gradual erosion—the wind-and-water method—are favored by Gold for achieving the awakening of the machine, activation of its transformational functions, and eventual transformation of the Essential Self in accordance with its true purpose. Gold has emphasized the discernment of the waking state, the use of indirect methods to overcome the fixed habits of the machine, and the individual's study of his/her "chronic," i.e. a defense mechanism against the waking state acquired by each person in early childhood. Over the years Gold's students have made a wide appplication of his teachings in such diverse field as architecture, psychotherapy, early childhood education, and computer programming.

The institute's Internet site is at http://www.idhhb.org.

Membership: In 2001 IDHHB reported 750 members, 20 centers, and 50 ministers in the United States and 75 members, three centers, and three ministers in Canada. Other members were to be found in Australia, Great Britain, West Germany, Norway, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, with centers in Spain, Italy, and Norway.

Periodicals: Talk of the Month.

Remarks: There has been much discussion concerning the relation of Gold and Gurdjieff. While there are obvious differences in their teachings, the inspiration of Gurdjieff is quite evident in Gold's choice of a name for his work, his use of the enneagram (a nine-pointed symbol used by Gurdjieff) in his institute's logo, and his picturing a Gurdjieff look-alike on the cover of several books (such as his Secret Talks with Mr. G). With out detracting from the originality of Gold's work and thought, his reliance, especially in his early years, on Gurdjieff is undeniable. During the 1980s, those influences other than Gurdjieff upon which Gold has drawn for his own teachings have become more evident in his writing and other work. This broader base is visible in both the new publications and revised editions of older books issued by the institute since 1985, in the wake of which Gold's pre-1985 writings have been somewhat discounted.

Sources:

The Avatar's Handbook. Los Angeles: Institute for the Development of the Harmonious Human Being, n.d.

Christie, David, et al., eds. The New American Book of the Dead. Nevada City, CA: IDHHB Publishing, 1981.

The Gabriel Papers. Nevada City, CA: IDHHB, 1981.

Gold, E. J. Autobiography of a Sufi. Crestline, CA: IDHHB Publications, 1976.

——. The Human Machine as a Transformational Apparatus. Nevada City, CA: Gateways/IDHHB, Publishers, 1985.

——. The Joy of Sacrifice. Nevada City, CA: IDHHB, 1978.

——. Shakti! The Spiritual Science of DNA. Crestline, CA: Core Group Publications, 1973.

Practical Work on the Self. Nevada City, CA, IDHHB, Inc., 1983.

Secret Talks with Mr. G. Nevada City, CA: IDHHB Publishing, 1978.

2122

International Mevlevi Foundation

Current address not obtained for this edition.

In 1995 Dr. Celalettin Celebi (d. 1996), international head of the Mevlevi Order, requested that an international Mevlevi foundation be established to bring the Mevlevis of the world under one roof. The program of the foundation includes: an annual international gathering of the heads of the various branches of the order in different parts of the world, the sponsoring of seminars in different parts of the world, and the publication of a journal. An initial international gathering was held in Bodrum, Turkey, in June 1996. Attendees included representatives from Turkey, the United States, England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Chile, and Iran.

The foundation also assumes responsibility to inform everyone about actions and applications that are inconsistent with the moral and spiritual values of the Mevlevi tradition which have been clarified in the last 700 years.

Following Dr. Celebi's death in April 1996, his son, Faruk Hemdem Celebi, succeeded him and now oversees the functioning of the International Mevlevi Foundation and other activities of the Mevlevi Order.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Marcia K. Hermansen "Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism" Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

2123

Ja'far-Shadhiliyya Sufi Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Ja'far-Shadhiliyya Sufi Order made a significant impact on the American Sufi community in the 1980s. The group was founded by Shaikh Fadhlalla Haeri, an Iranian formerly affiliated with the Habibiyya Sufis. In 1980, he and a group of followers established Zahra Trust and began to build a community, Bayt al-Deen (home of religion), at Bianco, Texas. The community had as its model the original Muslim community in Medina. Haeri published a number of books through the associated Zahra Publications.

The community survived through the 1980s, but toward the end of the decade, Haeri decided to relocate to England, and the present state of the American membership is unknown.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Nuradeen: An Islamic Sufi Journal.

Sources:

Haeri, Shaykh Fadhlalla. Beginnings' End. London/New York: KPI/Zahra Publications, 1987.

——. The Elements of Sufism. New York: Penguin, 1997.

——. The Journey of the Self: A Sufi Guide to Personality. San Francisco: Harper, 1991.

——. Living Islam. Dorset, UK: Element, 1989.

2124

Jerrahi Order of America

884 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977

The Jerrahi Order of America is the North American affiliate of the Halveti-Jerrahi Sufi Order headquartered in Turkey. The Halveti (also spelled Khalwati) is regarded as one of the original source schools of Sufism, and members attribute its founding to several thirteenth-century Muslim ascetics. The Halveti developed many branches, one of which was founded in the seventeenth century by Hazreti Pir Nureddin Jerrahi (d. 1733). Born in a prominent Istanbul family, Jerrahi studied law and at the age of nineteen was appointed a judge for the Ottoman Empire's province of Egypt. Just as he was due to sail to his new post, he met Halveti Sheikh ali Alauddin and gave up his legal career to become a dervish. An accomplished student, he soon received ijazat, license to teach from his instructor.

The Halveti orders have been characterized by both a strict program of training and emphasis upon individualism (one cause of the continual branching). It has also invested great reverence in any of its leaders who could demonstrate power. Jerrahi is considered a qutb, a spiritual pole of the universe, and head of the hierarchy of saints. The order spread throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond, from Yugoslavia to Indonesia.

The most distinctive practice of the Jerrahi Order is dhikr (or zhikr), literally the remembrance of God. Dhikr is the invocation of the unity of God and is performed by the dervishes with in a circle headed by their sheikh.

The Jerrahi is currently headed by Sheikh Tugrul al-Jerrahi, who resides in Istanbul. The order was established with in the American-Muslim community in the late 1970s. The Mosque of the Jerrahi Order of America, its main center, is located in Chestnut Ridge, New York.

Membership: As of 2001, four centers were active in America New York, California, Illinois, and Washington. There are also centers in Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, and Santiago. The Canadian center is in Toronto. European centers are found in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

Sources:

Al-Jerrahi, Muzaffer Ozak. The Unveiling of Love. New York: Inner Traditions International, 1981.

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Kebzeh Foundation

Box 1207-W
Vernon, BC, Canada V1T 6N6

Alternate Address: Essentialist Church of Christ, PO Box 1207-W, Vernon, BC Canada V1T 6N6.

Ahmusta Kebzeh is an ancient spiritual tradition from the Caucasus Mountains that embodies elements of Sufism and Christian mysticism. It describes itself as an applied science of processing the human being by awakening and developing latent human faculties under divine grace and guidance. It is an oral teaching which has been passed on through story, song, and the way of being of the people who carry it.

Ahmusta Kebzeh can be thought of as the science of processing human beings to the level of enabling them to activate and use their utmost human faculties with out limit. The life in this universe came to existence as a reflection of a creative power which is the source of everything, and which exists with out beginning and with out end. This power is electromagnetic in nature with an intelligence and will of its own.

Ahmusta Kebzeh teaches that once an entity comes to existence with a vibration peculiar to potential manifestation of self it enters the World of Creation and starts its cycle of evolution. Every entity which came to existence in creation evolves until ultimately the end of its evolution comes to be one with the very thing it originated from. Evolution takes place in two areas of existence: 1) Material Area, and 2) Mental Area. This cycle of evolution is taking place in everything existing in the world. Humans completed their material evolution some one million years ago and for the last million years have been in the process of evolving in consciousness. The destination of the evolution of human consciousness is ultimately Cosmic consciousness (Christ consciousness), and to such consciousness there is no limit.

The manifestation of this potential is the job of the science of Ahmusta Kebzeh. The application of Ahmusta Kebzeh consists of a long series of physical and mental exercises, somewhat reminiscent of the spiritual exercises brought to the West by Georgei Gurdjieff.

In this generation, Ahmusta Kebzeh has been transmitted orally by Murat Yagan, a Circassian elder who is thought to be the last known living light-holder of this particular tradition. He received it directly from the elders of his people and for the past 20 years has been teaching it to a small group of students in western Canada. The North American group began to work with Murat Yagan in 1975. His teaching work has included lectures, seminars, workshops, evening classes, and casual conversations while working and socializing. Many of these talks were recorded and have been transcribed and now constitute over 4,000 typed pages of material, the first written form the tradition has taken.

The Kebzeh Foundation includes departments and committees, such as The Essentialist Church of Christ and Sunday School, Kebzeh Publications, Distance Education, Application of Kebzeh to the Business of Contemporary Life (AOK), Leaping Committee (includes workshops and proposed Kebzeh School), Newsletter Publication, and Transcription. With in the Kebzeh tradition it is not allowed to receive money for the teaching and the overwhelming percent of all the work done by volunteers.

The Essentialist Church of Christ was founded in 1988 for the purpose of meeting for worship, i.e., showing a loving respect for a higher spiritual power or for someone who represents such a power. The church is based fully on the principles of Ahmusta Kebzeh and on Jesus' teachings under the light of Kebzeh. The church is not interested in proselytizing.

The church takes as guidance the essence of Christ directly. Such guidance is an essential component of mysticism: a faculty peculiar to humans, relating to the direct communion with God, or Ultimate Reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence, but which can be experienced through developing the finest receptivity down in the deepest realm of the subconscious mind; communion with God.

The church affirms a relationship to God and Cosmic Mind and Jesus as the highest example of completed man. Humans' birthright is Christhood. To claim their destiny, human beings must work to awaken their latent human faculties and come to know who they are by discovering God with in. The second coming of Christ consists of the elevation of the consciousness of all the people on the planet to Christhood.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Kebzeh Review Newsletter.

Sources:

Yagan, Murat. I Come from Behind Kaf Mountain: The Spiritual Autobiography of Murat Yagan. Putney, VT: Thresholds Books, 1984.

——. "Sufism and the Source." Gnosis 30 (winter 1994): 40-47.

——. The Teachings of Kabzeh: Essentials of Sufism from the Caucasus Mountains. Vernon, BC: Kebzeh Publications, 1995.

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Khanegah Maleknia Naser Ali Shah

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Khanegah Maleknia Naser Ali Shah is a small Nimatullahis Sufi Order headed by Naser Ali Shah, who moved between centers in Istanbul, Turkey, and Paris, France. Shah's nephew, who resides in Rhode Island, had been designated his kahalifa, and leaders (murids) are found in New York City; Boulder, Colorado; and North Carolina.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Marcia K. Hermansen "Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism" Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

2127

Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi

306 W. 11th St.
New York, NY 10014

Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi is the Western representative of the Nimatullahi Order of Sufis, an Iranian Sufi order named after Nur addin M. Ni'matullah (1330-1431). Ni'matullah was born in Aleppo, in present-day Syria, the son of a Sufi master, and studied with several Sufi teachers before meeting his principal teacher, Abdullah al-Yafi-i, in Mecca. After Sheikh Yafi-i's death in 1367, Ni'matullah began a period of traveling, finally settling in Mahan, Persia (Iran), whence the order spread throughout Persia and India.

The present head of the order is Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, former head of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Teheran, Iran. Nurbakhsh brought the order to the West in the 1970s and by 1983 had established centers in London, England, and several United States cities. He also created Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications as the publishing arm of the order, and it immediately began to generate English-language Sufi materials.

Nurbakhsh defines a Sufi as one who travels the path of love and devotion towards the Absolutely Real. Knowledge of the Real is accessible only to the Perfected Ones, the prime model being Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammad, to whom Iranian Shi'ite Muslims trace their authority. Ali traveled the path as a disciple of Mohammad and became not just a spiritual master, but the qutb, or spiritual axis, for his time. The head of the Nimatullahi Order continues in the succession of spiritual masters to whom disciples can look for knowledge.

Membership: In 1991 the order had nine centers in the United States: one each in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Mission Hills, California. Several hundred people are involved in the order's work. Foriegn centers were located in Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the Ivory Coast (Africa).

Sources:

Nurbakhsh, Javad. In the Paradise of the Sufis. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1979.

——. In the Tavern of Ruin. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1978.

——. Masters of the Path. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1980.

——. Traditions of the Prophet. New York: Kahniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1981.

——. What the Sufis Say. New York: Khaniqahi-Nimatullahi Publications, 1980.

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Naqshbandi Sufi Order

17195 Silver Pkwy., No. 201
Fenton, MI 48430

The Naqshbandi Sufi Order is an Islamic school of thought and practice that arose in Central Asia and India, spread through China and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, and came into Europe and North America in the past generation. The word "Naqshband" includes two ideas: naqsh or "engraving" the name of Allah in the heart, and band or "bond" designating the link between the individual and the Creator. Ideally, the Naqshbandi followers practice their prayers and obligations according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Muhammad) and keep the presence and love of Allah alive through the personal experience of the link between themselves and Allah. The Naqshbandi Way holds as an ideal continuous worship in every action, both external and internal. It includes the maintenance of the highest level of conduct, keeping an awareness of the Presence of God, Almighty and Exalted, and a complete experience of the Divine Presence.

The Naqshbandi traces its life to one of the Caliphs, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad in his role of guiding the Muslim community, and takes its foundations and principles from the teachings and example of him and six other outstanding followers of Islam, and Salman al-Farisi, Jacfar as-Sadiq, Bayazid Tayfur al-Bistami, Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani, and Muhammad Baha'uddin Uwaysi al-Bukhari. Of these, Abdul Khaliq formulated worship in the dhikr (remembrance of God), and in his letters he set down the code of conduct (adab) that the students of the Naqshbandiyya were expected to follow.

Muhammad Baha'uddin Uwaysi al-Bukhari, known as Shah Naqshband, the Imam of the Naqshbandi Tariqat (path), was born in the year 1317 C.E. He adopted a silent method of remembering God which would become a distinguishing feature of the Naqshbandiyya with in the larger Sufi community. Shah Naqshband made the Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) on three occasions, after which he resided in Merv and Bukhara, and then toward the end of his life he settled in his native city of Qasr al-carifan. His school and mosque remain as the largest Islamic center of learning in Central Asia. Shah Naqshband was buried in his garden as he requested, and the succeeding kings of Bukhara care for his school and mosque. They were recently renovated and reopened after surviving 70 years of Communist rule.

The order is currently headed by Sheikh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani, the 40th in the chain of Naqshbandi Masters. He resides in Cyprus. His representative in the United States is Sheikh Hisham Kabbani, his son-in-law. Male followers of the group wear a distinctive dress that includes turbans and green robes.

Membership: Not reported. In 1998, there were 18 Naqshbandi centers in the United States and two in Canada. Additional centers can be found in Great Britain, Spain, Sweden, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Kenya, Syria, Argentina, Guadeloupe, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Brunei, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela.

Remarks: Among the disciples of Sheikh Nazim is the sultan of Brunei, reportedly the richest man in the world.

Sources:

Kabbani, Sheikh Hisham. The Naqshbandi Way: History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain. Chicago: Kazi Press, 1995.

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Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism

℅ Golden Sufi Center
PO Box 428
Inverness, CA 94937

Naqshbandi Sufis, named after Bah ad-dn Naqshband (d.1389), are known as the "silent Sufis" because they practice the silent meditation of the heart. They consider God to be the silent emptiness who is most easily accessed in silence. They also attach great importance to dreams, which they consider to be a form of guidance along the Path. Unlike other Sufis, they do not practice samac, i.e., sacred music or dance, nor do they adopt a different dress. Their meetings consist of a period of silent meditation followed by dream work.

Naqshbandi dream work utilizes both spiritual and psychological approaches, and attempts to assist individuals to understand inner guidance and the inner processes of the Path at which they are pictured in their dreams. Dream work assumes the role that the ancient Sufi teaching stories have in other groups. Participants in dream meetings are encouraged to share their dreams, particularly those deemed to have a spiritual dimension.

The Naqshbandi Sufi movement was brought to the West by Irina Tweedie, a Russian woman who had become a Theosophist. While staying at Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar, India, she encountered a Naqshbandi teacher, Guru Bhai Sahib. After training her, he sent her to England as a teacher of the Great tradition. According to her guru, the teachings antedate Islam and are transmitted through the quickening power of the teacher.

Tweedie moved to England in 1963. Two years later her guru died and she assumed authority to teach and founded the Golden Sufi Center. She made her first visit to the United States in 1985. The center sees its task to be the presentation of the teachings of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism to the public. Its central program is embodied in its meditation groups. Its center also sponsors retreats, lectures, and seminars. Tweedie retired in 1992, and has been succeeded by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

Membership: Not reported. In 1998, the center reported North American meditation groups operating in northern California, New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minnesota, Chicago, and Vancouver. There were also meditation groups in a variety of locations in Germany, Switzerland, England, Spain, and Australia.

Sources:

Bancroft, A. Weavers of Wisdom: Women Mystics of the Twentieth Century. London: Arkana, 1989.

Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1997.

Tweedie, Irina. Chasm of Fire: A Woman's Experience of Liberation through the Teachings of a Sufi Master. Tisbury, UK: Element Books, 1979. Expanded version as: Daughter of Fire. Nevada City, CA: Blue Dolphin, 1986.

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Nimatullahi-Gunabadi Sufi Order

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Nimatullahi-Gunabadi Sufi Order is a branch of the Nimatullahi Sufis headed by Sultan Husayn Tabandah, Rida al Sha (b.1914), a resident of Iran. The majority of members in the United States are Iranian Americans. In 1960 he appointed his son as khalifa and successor.

Membership: Not reported. Centers are reported in Orange County, California; and Toronto, Canada.

Sources:

Marcia K. Hermansen "Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism" Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

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Osho Mevlana Foundation

26 Billin Rd.
Myocum, NSW 2482, Australia

The Osho Mevlana Foundation was founded in 1976 by Reshad Feild, the first sheikh of the Mevlana school of Sufism to travel to the West. The Mevlana lineage was initiated by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1272), the great thirteenth-century mystic poet. Raised as a Sufi, Rumi was an ecstatic and a visionary. He settled in Qonya, in present-day Turkey, and his tomb became the headquarters of his followers. They formally organized soon after his death.

Sufis share the basic beliefs of Islam but are organized around the leader, the sheikh, of the order who is considered the axis of the conscious universe. Rumi was especially devoted to music, and the Mevlana Order developed a musical emphasis. The order practices the zhikr, the remembrance of God, and became noted for its practice of the Turn, a dance in which individual Sufis attempted to establish a universal axis with in themselves. For this practice the Mevlana became famous in popular folklore as the "whirling dervishes."

Reshad Feild was raised in London. He studied with a Gurdjieff/Ouspensky group as well as the Druids, and finally became a professional spiritual healer. In the early 1960s he met Pir Vilayat Khan, leader of the Sufi Order, and was initiated as a Sufi sheikh by him. In the fall of 1969, still on a spiritual pilgrimage, Feild encountered a man referred to simply as Hamid. As a result of this encounter, he traveled to Turkey to study. While there he met Sheikh Suleyman Dede, the head of the Mevlana Order.

In 1976 Feild left Turkey and moved to Los Angeles, where he became a Sufi teacher and healer. Shortly after the move, he assisted Dede's visit to America. During this trip, Dede initiated Feild as the first sheikh in the West. Feild founded the Institute for Conscious Life which later became the Mevlana Foundation. The organization's web site is found at http://www.mevlanacommunity.com.

Membership: Not reported. Groups affiliated with the foundation can be found in the United States, Canada, and England.

Sources:

Feild, Reshad. Cooperation in the Three Worlds. Los Angeles: Institute for Conscious Life, 1974.

——. The Invisible Way. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979.

——. The Last Barrier. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

——. I Come from Behind Kaf Mountain. Putney, VT: Threshold Books, 1984.

2132

Prosperos

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Closely paralleling the Gurdjieff movement is the Prosperos, founded in 1956 in Florida by Phez Kahlil and Thane Walker, its present leader. Walker, described by all who have met him as an awe-inspiring, charismatic person, is a former Marine and student of Georgei Gurdjieff. He has modeled himself on Gurdjieff, but has broadened his sources with material from Jung, Freud, modern psychological techniques and the occult. The group was named after the magician in Shakespeare's The Tempest. It is described as a "Fourth Way" school.

The overarching reality for the Prosperos is the One Mind. Reality is experienced as one views from the perspectives of that One Mind. Both memory and the senses could be one vision, but via fourth way techniques, the self can be identified with the One. "Translation" is the name given that process. In Translation classes, the pupil is led through five steps: the statement of Being (What are the facts about reality?); Uncovering the Lie, the claims of the senses; Argument, or testing of the claims; Summing up Results; and Establishing the Absolute. Thane relies heavily on Gurdjieff's technique of disorientation of the pupil and the importance of the pupil-teacher relationship. He creates many kinds of experiences in various classes and intensive seminars. Pantomime, improvisation, body exercises and singing are all used as aids.

Headquarters of the Prosperos, termed the Inner Space Center, houses Publishing Programs, which produces the monthly Newsletter, instructional materials and Thane's book, Not So Secret Doctrine. Leadership is vested in Thane and the Mentors. The Mentors are drawn from the High Watch, an inner circle of advanced students who have completed three classes, submitted two theses and delivered an oral dissertation. There is an annual Prosperos assembly. In the Midwest, Thane operates through the Institute of Advanced Thinking, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

Membership: Not reported.

Educational Facilities: Prosperos Seminary, El Monte, California.

Periodicals: Prosperos Newsletter.

Sources:

Ritley, Mary. Invitation to a Hungry Feast. Santa Monica, CA: The Prosperos Inner Space Center, 1970.

2133

Qadiri Rifai Tariqa

PO Box 2511
Napa, CA 94558

The Qadiri Rifai Tariqa is a traditional, Islamically-based, Sufi order and is a result of a merging of two Sufi orders. The Qadiri Tariqa was founded by Sufi saint and scholar, Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Abdul Qadir al Geylani (a.k.a. Jilani) (1078-1166). The Rifa Tariqa was founded by another saint, Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Ahmed er Rifa'i (1120-1183). Both the Qadiri and the Rifai Tariqas continue to exist as separate Sufi orders.

Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Muhammad Ansari, who was born in Baghdad, moved to Erzincan in northeastern Turkey in the early 1900s. He was a descendant of both Sufi saints Shaykh Abdul Qadir al Geylani and Shaykh Ahmed er Rifai and was a shaykh of the Rifai order. In Turkey he met Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi, a Qadiri, with whom he studied for many years. When Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Muhammad Ansari strengthened his connection to the Qadiri Order, Shykh Abdullah Hashimi sent him to Istanbul to establish the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa.

Shaykh Muhammad Ansari header the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa from 1915 until his death. His son, Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari, born in Erzincan, succeeded him. Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari raised 56 khalifas (representatives) and many thousand murids (students) all over Turkey, Germany, and the former Yugoslavia. In 1978 when Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari died, he left the tasarruf (executive power) of the order to Shaykh Nureddin Ozal. The order affirms that while raising 10 khalifas, Shaykh Nureddin Ozal served everyone with whom he came in contact with humility and love.

In May 1993, Shaykh Nureddin Ozal passed away, leaving the tasarruf of the order to Es-Seyyid Es-Shaykh Taner Ansari Tarsusi er Rifai el Qadiri. Shaykh Taner Ansari, a student of Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari, is the current Pir of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa. The current headquarters of the Tariqa is in California where, under the behest of Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari, Shaykh Taner Ansari founded the Ansari Tariqa, a new order of the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa.

The Ansari Tarqa is dedicated to service to humanity while it follows the traditional methods of Sufi instruction and worship. The intention of the Sufi murid is to embody the meaning of the Holy Quran in his or her daily life. The murid maintains rabita (heart connection) with his or her shaykh or shaykha (guide) and cleanses the nafs (ego) through zikr (remembrance of Allah). Each student has his or her own assignment prescribed by the guide.

Zikr and other Sufi practices are transmitted personally down through the generations to the present shaykhs and shaykhas of the Sufi tariqas and their students. A Sufi shaykh is a teacher of these practices who has been appointed by his or her own shaykh in a line that recedes back to Prophet Muhammad.

The goal of the Sufi path is to be one with Allah through complete surrender to Allah, in which state one realizes his or her full potential as a human being. The student's most fervent wish is to know, love, and serve Allah.

Ansari Tariqa is an international order. Some of the center locations include South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Turkey, and Mexico as well as throughout the United States. Live classes are presented on the Internet; the public is invited to visit http://www.qadiri-rifai.org and participate in the online classes.

Membership: Not reported. Main centers are in Berkeley, Marin County, and Los Angeles, California; and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Periodicals: Call of the Divine.

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Rifa'i Marufi Sufi Fellowship

PO Box 202
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0202

The Rifa'i Marufi Sufi Fellowship is an international Rifa'i Sufi group (a tradition that began with Ahmed er Rifa'i (1118–1181), a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who was born and grew up in what is now Iraq). It has centers (tekkes) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; New York City; Manisa, Turkey; and Baku, Azarbaijan. It is under the international leadership of Shaikh al-Hajj Sherif er-Rifa'i. American work began in 1992 when Shaikh Sherif Chatalkayacame to the United States following an invitation from the Jerrahi Order of America's center in New York City. He subsequently received an invitation to settle in North Carolina from a businessman who was a Sufi. The group's life is built around dhikr (remembrance of God), teaching sessions, and the performance of devotional songs.

Membership: Not reported. In 1995, there were 50 members in the United States.

Sources:

Hilaamn, Hugh Talat. "A Silk Road Runs in the U.S." Unpublished paper presented at the Islam in America Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 1995.

2135

School of Islamic Sufism (Oveyssi Sufi Order)

PO Box 5827
Washington, DC 20016

The School of Islamic Sufism (Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi) is the present manifestation of the Oveyssi Sufi Order. It traces its roots through a lineage of Sufi Masters to Amir-al Mo'menin Ali and Oveys Gharani, who lived in Yemen at the time of Muhammad. Amir al Mo'menin, also known as Hazrat Ali, represents the essence of the teachings of the School of Islamic Sufism. He was a close companion of Muhammad, and also received and cognized the teachings of the Holy Prophet inwardly. On the other hand, Hazrat Oveys received the teachings of Islam inwardly, and lived by the principles taught by him although he had never physically met Muhammad. According to the history of the school, the Prophet would speak of Hazrat Oveys whom he never met, "I feel the breath of the Merciful, coming to me from Yemen." Then, shortly before the Prophet passed from this life, he directed Omar (the second Caliph) and Hazrat Ali (the first Imam of the Shi'a) to take his Cloak to Hazrat Oveys. This act confirmed the method of heart-to-heart communication through which Hazrat Oveys had received the essence of Islam.

The method of the passing of the Cloak represents two significant elements in the teachings of the Holy Prophet which constitute the method of instruction of the School of Islamic Sufism — cognition (understanding) must take place inwardly, and cognition must be confirmed—as it was in the case of Hazrat Oveys, and Amir al-Mo'menin.

Since that time, the Cloak and the method of receiving knowledge through the heart, symbolizing Divine Illumination, and recognizing the recipient, has been handed down through an unbroken succession of Sufi Masters. This act creates the only hierarchy with in the School of Islamic Sufism. The designated Sufi Master, called the Pir, represents the essence of the Sufi Way.

The present Master of the School is Molana-al-Moazam Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Shah Angha (b. 1945), also known as Hazrat Pir. Hazrat Pir is the 42nd Master in lineage dating back 1,400 years. He was born in Tehran, Iran, and was tutored by his grandfather, who was the 40th Sufi Master of the Oveyssi Order, and father, Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, the 41st Sufi Master of the Oveyssi Order.

Hazrat Pir's duties have included the designing and supervision of the construction of the Sufi Center known as Sufi Abad in Karaj (close to Tehran). Following his move to the United States (with his father) in 1979, he took the lead in expanding the audience for the sacred teachings. He has authored more than 50 books.

Hazrat Pir's teaching includes the attempt to apply the knowledge of the sacred in tangible forms that become visible symbols of the creative power of the soul. One such symbol is a shrine near Novato, California, designed by Hazrat Pir as a memorial to his father. In accordance with the science of jafr (relation of letters and numbers), the dimensions of the building may be converted to letters that yield the name of his father. The shape of the roof structure represents Allah (in Arabic). All the sides of the roof join to form a summit representing the unification of the human being with God, signifying that God can be known in the heavens—the heart, the pure elevated state of the human being.

Membership: In 1998, the school included some 400,000 adherents in its global network of centers.

Sources:

Marcia K. Hermansen "Hybrid Identity Formations in Muslim America: The Case of American Sufism" Unpublished, undated paper in ISAR collection.

2136

Shadhiliyya-Miriamiyya

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Shadhiliyya-Miriamiyya is the name given to the group of students who have gathered around author Frithj of Schoun (1907–1998), who has studied with Shaikh Ahmad al-Awadi of the Shadhiliyya-AlawiyyaSufis in Algeria. Schoun was born in Basle, Switzerland, the son of a concert violinist. During his youth, he read the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and soon found the works of French esoteric philosopher Rene Guenon. As a young man he studied Arabic, and in 1932 made his first trip to Algeria where he met the celebrated Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, and six years later traveled to Egypt, where he met Guenon. He served in the French Army during World War II, became a prisoner of the Germans, and finally sought asylum in Switzerland. He lived there until moving to the United States in 1980.

Through his many books and articles Schoun became known as the leader of the traditionalist or perennialist movement, which centered on a mystical monist view of the cosmos. After emigrating to the United States, he settled in Bloomington, Indiana, where he continued to live until his death in 1998. Known to his students as Shaikh Isa Nur al-Din, he offered an eclectic Islamic Sufi tariqa (path) which, though based in Islam, included insights from Native American teachings, Hinduism, and various forms of mysticism. Additionally, at some point he had had some visionary experiences of the Virgin Mary (also a figure in Muslim teachings), and his teachings (Tariqa Miriamiyya) had a special place for her.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Borella, Jean. "Rene Guenon and the Traditionalist School." In Modern Esoteric Spirituality. Edited by Antpoine Faivre and Jacob Needleman. New York: Crossroad, 1992, pp. 330-58.

Schoun, Frithj of. The Essential Writings of Frithj of Schoun. Edited by S. H. Nasr. World Wisdon Books, 1986.

——. Islam and the Perennial Philosophy. London: World of Islam Publications, 1976.

——. Understanding Islam. London: Allan and Unwin, 1963.

2137

Shadhiliyya Sufism

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Shadhili Path of Sufism was founded in Egypt in the thirteenth century C.E. by as-Shaykh Ali Abu-l-Hasan as-Shadhili. Currently, leadership has passed to Shaykh al-Qutb al-Gawth, the Guide of the Shadhili Path. Since 1959, the shaikh has resided at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and has been the Imam at the Masjid al-Aqsa (the Dome on the Rock) for many years. The Dome on the Rock is sacred to the Holy House in Mecca in the tradition of the Night Journey (al-Mi'raj) of the Prophet Muhammad from the Ka'ba in Mecca to the al-Aqsa Mosque and from there to the heavens. The shaikh is well known to many people both in Palestine and in other countries in the world. In 1993 he came to feel that he should travel to other countries, and at the same time an order came to him from Allah to give teachings to all those in every part of the world who were sincerely seeking for the truth of their existence. Up until then the teachings had been offered only in Jerusalem.

An American following began to be created in the mid-1990s. The Sidi Muhammad Press prints materials representative of the group.

Membership: Not reported.

2138

Society for Sufi Studies

℅ The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge
Box 176
Los Altos, CA 94023

Alternate Address: Octagon Press, Box 227, London, UK N6 4EW.

Indries Shah (1924-1996) was a twentieth-century Sufi teacher who led a public career of note, but also became the focus of intense speculations about his true beliefs and affiliations. He was born in Simla, India, in 1924, to an Indian father and Scottish mother. Brought to England as a teenager, he would live most of his life in his adopted homeland. His father was a physician (who met his mother while studying in Edinburgh) from Afghanistan, and Shah claimed a lineage that went back to the Prophet Muhammad. Shah was tutored by his father and after finishing his secondary education in England attended the Edinburgh Medical School for a period, though he did not finish his course of study.

In his 30s, he became the Director of Studies for the Institute for Cultural Research and began a process of teaching on Sufism. His first book in Sufism, The Sufis, appeared in 1964. It was the first of 20 on the subject. He was considered by his followers as the greatest living exemplar of Sufism, but there was some debate over the source of his authority. Shah himself had to present a document to a prominent Western Sufi, John Godolphin Bennett, in support of a claim that he had been sent to the West by an esoteric school, possibly the same one that Georgei Gurdjieff represented. (Bennett was a student of Gurdjieff.) In his writings, Shah suggested that Gurdjieff was an amatuer who had stumbled on some true Sufi knowledge, and by implication suggested that he (Shah) was the true inheritor of the tradition.

Ja'far Hallaji suggested that Shah was a Naqshbandi Sufi who also had the authority to initiate people in the lineage of several Sufi orders, but no acknowledged Sufi teacher emerged to back that claim. In any case, a number of people emerged from Shah's vast writings who saw him as an authoritative teacher. Shah sees Sufism as only incidentally connected to Islam and hence a more attractive set of teachings for a Western audience. Among his leading disciples in North America is psychologist Robert Ornstein.

As the actual content of the teachings is secret, details are somewhat difficult to substantiate, as is the very organization of followers of the society who operate in small groups across North America and Europe. In an early book, The Diffusion of Sufi Ideasin the West, a training program was laid out. The potential Sufi learns about Sufism and then makes contact with some Sufis. After an interview, the aspirant will be assigned some initial reading. The aspirant joins a study group or other low demand activity. The leader begins to guide the individual who eventually may be sent on a pilgrimage to further stimulate development. Members of study groups receive regular mailing of "Sufi stories" which form the content of their discussions.

In the United Kingdom, Octagon Press served as a publisher and distributor of Shah's books. In the United States, the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK) has been the principal distributor for Shah's materials. Since the mid-1970s, ISHK has also been sponsoring research and educational programs on the human mind, and the processes shaping one's beliefs, institutions, and experience.

In 1988 Shah suffered two heart attacks but continued to work and write until his death at the end of 1996.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Lewis, L., ed. The Diffusion of Sufi Ideas in the West. Boulder, CO: Institute for Research on the Dissemination of Human Knowledge, 1972.

Shah, Indries. Special Problems in the Study of Sufi Ideas. Tunbridge Wells, UK: Society for the Understanding of the Foundation of Ideas, 1966.

——. The Sufis. New York: Jonathan Cape, 1964.

——. The Way of the Sufis. London: Octagon, 1968.

Williams, L. F. Rushbrook, ed. Sufi Studies: East and West—A Symposium in Honour of Indries Shah's Services to Sufic Studies. New York: Dutton, 1973.

2139

Subud

Current address not obtained for this edition.

In Georgei Gurdjieff's book, All and Everything, he speaks of Ashiata Shiemash, the Prophet of Conscious. Some of Gurdjieff's students claimed that the passages were prophetic and that the Ashiata Shiemash was yet to come. One of the students with Gurdjieff during the last years of his life claimed students were told that the Ashiata Shiemash was "already preparing himself a long way from here," (i.e., Paris) and that he would be associated with the Malay Archipelago. After Gurdjieff's death, many of his students awaited the coming of a teacher to pick up the master's mantle; many thought they had found him in the person of Bapak Subuh(b. 1901).

Muhammed Subuh was a local government official from Java. Acting on prophecy that he was to die in his twenty-fourth year, he began to search for spiritual guidance and turned to many teachers, including several Sufi shaikhs such as Shaikh Abdurrahman of the Nakshibendi Order of Dervishes. To a man, they told him that he was different, that they had nothing to teach him and that his enlightenment would come directly from God. However, no enlightenment came until 1925, when one evening a ball of light descended upon him, entered through the crown of his head and filled him with radiant light and vibrations. For the next three years, his body experienced spontaneous occurrences of the latihans, a cleansing and purifying process. After three years these stopped, and he entered a period of darkness and confusion. Finally in 1933, his true mission was revealed to him, and he was soon contacted by some Sufis whose teacher had requested the contact. Thus Subud became a movement.

Bapak (meaning father) Subud quit his job and devoted his life to the spread of the movement throughout Java. His work continued for twenty-three years. Some Europeans heard of his work and invited him to England in 1956. In England, Bapak soon gained a following, largely built upon former disciples of Gurdjieff. John Godolphin Bennett was particularly influential the author of the widely read Concerning Subud. Bennett, a well-known Gurdjieff disciple, had, in 1946, founded the Institute for the Comparative Study of History, Philosophy and the Sciences at Coome Springs, England, to further Gurdjieff's teachings. The Institute became the center for the spread of Subud in the English-speaking world.

Subud is a contraction of three Sanskrit words: "Sulisa," right living in accordance with the will of God; "Budhi," the inner force residing in the nature of man himself; and "Dharma," surrender and submission to the power of God. The key to Subud is the latihan, the process of surrendering to the power of god, and the only group occurrence (usually twice a week) in Subud. Beginners must go through several months of probation before entering the latihan. After establishing their sincerity, they are opened. Opening is accomplished through instrumentality of several experienced members (helpers) who are viewed as channels of the higher energies of God. It is believed by Subud that the power originally given directly to Bapak is transmitted by contact with a person in whom it is already established.

The latihan proper is a time of moving the consciousness beyond mind and desire and allowing the power to enter and do its work. During this time, males and females are in separate, darkened rooms. Often accompanying the spontaneous period are various body movements and vocal manifestations—cries, moans, laughter, and singing. These occur in the voluntary surrender of the self to the power. During this time, people report sensations of love and freedom and, often, healings. All reach a higher level of consciousness.

After coming to England, Subud spread rapidly. The healing of Eva Bartok in 1957 was a major event in its spread. In 1958, Bapak was invited to the United States by a John Cooke, and Subud found a home among Gurdjieff disciples in this country. It spread rapidly. A periodical, Subud News (later Subud North American News) was founded in 1959, and Dharma Book Company was established to publish the movement's literature. By 1972, Subud had more than seventy centers in North America.

Membership: Not reported.

Remarks: Some difficulty in studying Subud has been experienced because of the sharp distinction drawn between those who have experienced latihan and outsiders. Much literature is produced only for members and unavailable for researchers.

Sources:

Bartok, Eva. Worth Living For. New York: University Books, 1959.

Bennett, John G. Concerning Sabud. New York: University Books, 1959.

Bright-Paul, Anthony. Stairway to Subud. New York: Dharma Book Company, 1965.

Muhammad-Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo. Susila Budhi Dharma. Subud Publications International, 1975.

Rofe, Husein. The Path of Subud. London: Rider & Company, 1959.

2140

Sufi Foundation of America

Box 75 Torreon, NM 87061

The Sufi Foundation of America was founded in the 1980s by Adnan Sardan, a Sufi master from Iraq who has studied and been recognized for his accomplishments in five Sufi Orders: the Qadri, Nashibandi, Rafai, Menlevi, and Malamari. He understands Sufism to have derived from the Arabic word sufir, to be clear. When the mind and body are pure, one can see the spirit with in. Murky vision is caused by attachments to belief, family, traditions, and religion. The Sufi is free of such attachments and has nothing to do with the sense world of the physical, the ego, emotions, tension, and other problems.

The Sufi exercises, including music and dancing, chanting, drumming, and whirling, develop the person and teach selfreliance. The teacher merely assists the student on his or her own path to aloneness with god.

Sardan teaches at the center in New Mexico, the major program being a two-month camp each summer. Followers are found across North America and Europe.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Sarhan, Adnan. The Human Chicken. Torreon, NM: Sufi Foundation of America, 1989.

——. "The Sufi Path: Making Life Lovable and Love Livable." Tantra 4 (1992): 33-47.

Way of the Spirit with Adnan Sardan: Remarkable Experiences Told by His Students. Torreon, NM: Sufi Foundation of America, 1989.

2141

Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society

410 Precita Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Alternate Address: Center for the Dances of Universal Peace, 444 N.E. Ravenna Blvd., Seattle, WA 98115.

History. The Sufi Ismalia Ruhaniat Society (meaning the "way of peace through the breath") grew out of the work of Samuel L. Lewis (1896-1971), known by his religious name, Ahmed Murad Chisti, a Sufi teacher originally initiated by Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan in 1923. Following World War II, Lewis traveled to Africa and Asia where he received initiations from several Sufi orders as well as studying with a number of Buddhist and Hindu teachers. Returning to America in 1962 he began to teach and in 1966 initiated his first disciples. He found a responsive audience among the hippies of San Francisco, California, and he began to teach them the spiritual dances and walks he had developed. In 1968, he met Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, son and successor to Hazrat Khan, and he and his disciple began to work with the Sufi Order.

After Lewis' death, his disciples continued to affiliate with the Sufi Order, but through the early 1970s issues emerged between them which led to their separation from Pir Vilayat and continuance as a separate movement

Beliefs. The teachings of the society draw upon the works of Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis. It has developed a central focus upon the path of initiation and discipleship. The purpose of initiation is fulfilled in the realization of the One, with in and with out. The relationship between teacher and disciple is also stressed. It exists to provide the training that leads to realization of the Divine essence believed to be in each human and to lead to a life of service to God and humanity.

Lewis is most remembered for his introduction of spiritual dances and walks in the late 1960s. The dances use motion to facilitate a change the individual dancer's whole life, to make it whole. The dances usually combine simple dance motions with controlled breathing and a mantra (sacred words of power). They are usually done to simple rhythmic music and should lead to states of ecstasy and devotion to Allah. The first dances were derived from the dervish dances of the Middle East. The walks combined feeling, movement, and recitation of sacred phrases. Lewis also left a set of mystical writings that were published by the society. He is considered a true mystic.

Organization. The society is headed by a board of trustees. Centers have been established around the world to teach classes in various topics for the general public and the mureeds (those on the path of initiation), and to provide settings for the practice of the spiritual dances and walks. The Center for the Dances of Universal Peace has been created to facilitate the development of new dances and the training of dance leaders.

Membership: In 1997, the society reported approximately 800 mureeds in the United States, Canada, Russia, and Germany.

Periodicals: Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society Newsletter.

Sources:

Lewis, Samuel L. In the Garden. New York: Harmony Books, 1975.

——. Introduction to Spiritual Brotherhood. San Francisco: Sufi Ismalia, 1981.

——. The Jerusalem Trilogy. Novato, CA: Prophecy Pressworks, 1975.

——. Sufi Vision and Initiation. San Francisco: Sufi Ismalia, 1986.

2142

The Sufi Movement

Sufi Center of Washington
1613 Stowe Rd.
Reston, VA 22094-1600

Alternate Address: International Headquarters: 11 rue John Rehfous, 1208 Geneva, Switzerland. National Representative of Canada, 4432 John St. Vancouver, BC V5V 3X1.

The Sufi Movement emerged in 1927 following the death of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1892–1927), founder of the Sufi Order. Rabia Martin, a woman whom Khan had initiated and designated as his successor, was rejected by Khan's family and his European followers. Making use of an opening provided by Khan's not leaving a written will, the European members reorganized as the Sufi Movement and selected Maheboob Khan (1887–1948), Inayat's brother, as its leader. He was succeeded in 1948 by a cousin, Mohammad Ali Khan (1881–1958). He was in turn succeeded by Musharaff Khan (1895–1967) and Fazal Inayat Khan (1942–1990), who resigned in 1982.

Following Fazal Khan's stepping down, a collective leadership was formed, but it fell apart in 1985 and the movement split. The core of the Sufi Movement continued under the joint leadership of Hidayat Inayat Khan (b. 1917) and Murshida Shahzadi. Hidayat, a son of Hazrat Inayat, became the sole leader of the movement in 1993.

Hidayat Inayat Khan was only 10 years old when his father passed away in 1927. He later studied music at L'Ecole Normale de Musique and eventually became a professor in the Music School of Dieulefit, Drome, France, and conducted an orchestra in Haarlem, Holland. He authored numerous compositions including both secular music and a collection of Sufi hymns. He is a founding member of the European Composers' Union.

The movement closely resembles the Sufi Order, headed by Vilayat Inayat Khan, and is organized in five divisions to focus on universal worship, community, healing, symbology, and esoteric activity. Internationally, the movement is based in Holland, but has spread across Europe to Canada and the United States. Members meet weekly for dhikr (worship) and classes.

Membership: Not reported. There are offices in New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Mex ico, Russia, India, Norway, Germany, and Canada.

Sources:

The Gathas. Katwijk, Neths.: Servire, 1982.

Khan, Fazal Inayat. Old Thinking: New Thinking. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.

Khan, Hidayat Inayat. Sufi Teachings. Canada: Ecstasis, 1994.

2143

Sufi Order

Sufi Order Secretariat
Box 574
Lebanon Springs, NY 12114

History. Sufism was brought to the United States in 1910 by Pir Hazrat Inayat Khan (1881-1927). An Indian-born musician, he was initiated into the Nizami branch of the Chishti Order, one of the main Sufi schools of India. (The other main branch, the Sabiri, is represented in the United States by the Chishti Order of America.) The Chishti School was brought to India from Persia, and in its new home it absorbed elements of Hindu Vedantic thought which gave it a distinctive position with in the Sufi world. The idea in coming to the West was to westernize the Sufi path. By bringing together East and West, it was thought, a basis for unity in the religion of love and wisdom could be laid. Doctrinal bias would be replaced by the power of mysticism.

Khan brought the Sufi Order to America in 1910. His first initiate was Rabia Martin who developed a center in San Francisco prior to World War I, which included among its members Samuel L. Lewis. Pir Inayat died suddenly in 1927 and succession was passed to his then eleven-year old son Vilayat. In the United States, Martin claimed the succession as the first initiate and murshid (minister). The European members and the family refused to recognize her, partly because she was a female, and the American and European work separated. During the last years of her life, Martin (d. 1947) heard of and began to investigate a new Indian teacher, Meher Baba, but died before completing her evaluation. Martin was succeeded by Ivy Oneita Duce, who became a disciple of Meher Baba and led the Sufi following entrusted to her under his care.

The Sufi Order was reintroduced to the United States in the 1960s by Pir Hazrat Vilayat Khan (b. 1916). His work on the West Coast was boosted by the encounter with Samuel Lewis. Lewis, a former member of Martin's group, did not accept Meher Baba. After World War II he traveled to Asia and received several independent initiations and recognition as a Sufi murshid. he founded a Sufic group in San Francisco in 1966 which he brought into the Sufi Order in 1968. (Eventually, much of that work was lost when in 1977 some of Lewis's students rejected some of Khan's regulations for the Order and with drew to form the Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society.) Khan succeeded in building a stable national organization during the 1970s, and has become one of the most respected and popular teachers with in the loosely organized New Age Movement.

Beliefs. The teachings of Inayat Khan have been summarized in ten "Sufi Thoughts." The Thoughts affirm that there is but one God, Master, Holy Book (i.e., the sacred manuscript of nature), religion, law, brotherhood, moral principle, object of praise, truth and path. Meditation and dervish dancing are the main means to induce the mystic consciousness.

The activity headed by Khan has three aspects. The Sufi Order proper is an esoteric school into which individuals are admitted by initiation (Bayat) and accept Khan as their spiritual counsellor. Initiates follow a study program and follow a set of personal practices, including special breathing techniques and the repetition of a wazifa (or mantrum) usually delineated at the time of initiation. The more esoteric religious activity is called the Universal Worship of the Church of All. Universal Worship is built around a liturgy developed by Inayat Khan which attempts to emphasize what is perceived as the essence of religion with in all religions. Inayat Khan initiated the building of the Universel, a temple of all religions, in France shortly before his death. The Healing Order is built around the group healing ritual developed by Inayat Khan. Under Vilayat, the healing work has pushed the Sufi Order into the middle of the holistic health movement which became a prominent part of the larger New Age movement during the 1970s.

Organization. The American work of the Sufi Order is headed by Pir Khan and the Board of Trustees, which control the property and assets of the Order. An Interstate Council, consisting of the Trustess and representatives of all the branches of the Order, oversees financial transactions and coordinates programs. Center and branch leaders are appointed by Pir Khan. The on-going administration of the Order is in the hands of Secretary General. Internationally the Sufi Order is headquartered in France with national branches in England, Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, India, and Canada. Nationally, the order is headquartered at the Abode of the Message, a community near Lebanon Springs, New York on the site of a former Shaker Village.

Membership: Not reported. There are centers across the United States and Canada.

Periodicals: The Message. • Under the Wings. Both available from Sufi Order, Route 15, Box 270, Tucson, AZ 85715. • Ziraat. Send orders to 22 Pillow Road, Austin, TX 78745.

Sources:

de Jong-Keesing, Elisabeth. Inayat Khan. The Hague: East-West Publications Fonds B. V., 1974.

Initiation. Lebanon Springs, NY: Sufi Order, 1980.

The Sufi Order. New Lebanon, NY: Message, Sufi Order, 1977.

Toward the One. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

Inayat Khan, Vilayat. The Message in Our Time. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978.

2144

Tayu Meditation Center

Box 11554
Santa Rosa, CA 95406

Tayu Meditation Center is a "Fourth Way" spiritual school founded in 1976 by Robert Daniel Ennis. The Fourth Way is the name given to the system of spiritual development expounded by Georgei Gurdjieff, which is seen as an alternative to the three other major forms of spiritual life, those of the yogi, monk, and fakir. It also refers to its claim that, unlike other spiritual traditions that engage only one center of the human organism at a time, the Fourth Way addresses all three simultaneously. More intense in the beginning, it is seen as ultimately more efficient, and is often called the "sly Way."

The primary Tayu practice is a special form of meditation called "Self-observation," designed to accommodate those born in Western culture. It focuses the awareness in turn on each of the three major centers of the human organism—the motor/ instinctive, the emotional, and the intellectual. According to Ennis, when sincerely engaged in, Self-observation reveals the true nature and inner workings of the human organism, and opens the way to full and continuous access to True Mind.

Ennis has been recognized as an accomplished spiritual teacher by contemporaries such as Lee Lozowick, E. J. Gold, and Robert DeRopp. He arrived at his level of adeptship on July 4, 1976, having attained the degree of "Reason of the sacred termoonald." His teaching style has been described as "powerful yet intense, disconcerting for those with preconceptions," and especially aimed at Westerners. The teaching center is located on a small farm in Sonoma County, California.

Membership: The center is a small group as Ennis has refused to work with more than a few select students who agree to work on a more intense level at their spiritual development.

Periodicals: The Way Fourth-The Journal of Tayu.

2145

The Threshold Society

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Mevlevi Order emerged from the life and work traces of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (d. 1273), one of the greatest mystic poets of all time, and possibly the most famous Sufi among non-Muslims. The late Dr. Celalettin Celebi (d. 1996) of Istanbul, Turkey, the international head of the Mevlevi Tariqa (order) and a direct descendant of Rumi, appointed Dr. Edmund Kabir Helminski as a representative of the order in North America. He is a Mevlevi shaikh, appointed to that position by Shaikh Suleyman Loras (d.1985) of Konya, Turkey (whose son, Shaikh Jelaluddin Loras, was active in building a following for the order on the American West Coast). Helminski and his wife, Dr. Camille Helminski, have been working with in the Mevlevi tradition for some two decades. They cofounded the Threshold Society, and the related Threshold Books, a publishing house focused upon Sufi and related contemporary spiritual writings. Kabir Helminski is the author/translator of three books of Sufi poetry, and he and Camille Helminski have edited two collections of Rumi's writings.

The most distinctive aspect of Mevlevi Sufis is the Sema Ritual, from which they have earned their popular designation as Whirling Dervishes. Just as the kirtan of the Hare Krishnas have often been the image people have of Hinduism, so the whirling ritual of the Mevlevi have set the image of Sufism for many. The ritual can be traced to Rumi, and Mevlevis understand that by revolving in harmony with all things in nature, the believer testifies to the existence and the majesty of the Creator, thinks of Him, gives thanks to Him, and prays to Him. It is their belief that revolving is the fundamental condition of our existence as all beings are comprised of revolving electrons, protons, and neutrons in atoms, and human beings live by means of a set of revolutions—of these particles, of the blood in one's body, and ultimately of the stages of one's life.

The ritual attempts to unite the three fundamental components of human nature: the mind (as knowledge and thought), the heart (through the expression of feelings, poetry, and music), and the body (by activating life, by the turning). It represents the human being's spiritual journey, an ascent by means of intelligence and love to Perfection (Kemal). Turning toward the truth, the believer grows through love, transcends the ego, meets the truth, and arrives at Perfection.

The Threshold Society, as an outpost of the Mevlevi Order, has set as its purpose the facilitating of the experience of Divine unity, love, and wisdom in the world. The society offers training programs, seminars, and retreats in North America and around the world. These are intended to provide a structure for practice and study with in Sufism and spiritual psychology. The order is working to apply traditional Sufi principles to the conditions of contemporary life.

In May of 1994 at a conference in Konya, Turkey, on "Mevlana and Human Rights," a gathering of eminent cultural and spiritual figures declared the Threshold Mevlevi Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, "New Konya" in recognition of the work of the Threshold Society and Threshold Books in spreading Rumi's message of universal love. Following the death in 1996 of Dr. Celaleddin Celebi, Faruk Hemdem Celebi, his son, succeeded him as leader of the Mevlevi Order.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Helminski, Kabir. An Anthology of Translations & Versions of Jalaluddin Rumi. Battleborro, VT: Threshold Books, 1998. 212 pp.

——. Jewels of Remembrance: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance: Containing 365 Selections from the Wisdom of Rumi by Jalal Al-Din Rumi. Battleboro, VT: Threshold Books, 1996.

——. Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self. Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher, 1992.

——, and Camille Helminski, trans. Rumi: Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance. Battleboro, VT: Threshold Books, 1995.

2146

Tijaniyya Sufi Path

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Tijaniyya Sufi Path is based on the Qur'an and Hadith founded by Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani (1737–1815). It began in a vision of the Prophet Muhammad and members champion the ability of believers to see the Prophet and receive communications from him. Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani was 40 years old when he saw the Prophet in broad daylight and was told by the Prophet that he was his shaykh. The Prophet gave him the Tijani Wird, i.e., the form of the dhikr that is distinctive of the Tariqa Tijaniyya. The spiritual work that a Tijani is required to do in his or her journey to Allah is dhikr, i.e., remembrance of Allah. The specific dhikr of the Tariqa Tijaniyya consists of three basic activities: 1) Astagh-firullah (asking Allah for forgiveness); 2) celebrating the praises of Allah in the saying of "La Ilaha Illallah" (Muslims of the Tariqa Tijaniyya say "La Ilaha Illallah" at least 300 times a day); and 3) Salatal 'ala Nabi, the offering of prayers upon the Prophet.

In the years since Shaykh al-Tijani(RA) passed, the movement has been led by a worthy succession of leaders including Shaykh Umar Futi; Shaykh Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Tijani, a Mauritanian shaykh who brought the Tariqa to West Africa for the first time; Shaykh al-Hajj Abdullah Niasse, the father of Shaykh Ibrahim; Shaykh al-Hajj Malik Sy; and Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse (1990–1975).

The Tariqa Tijaniyya is currently led by Alhamdulillah Shaykh Hassan Cisse (b. 1945), the grandson and spiritual heir of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse. He is Chief Imam of the Grand Mosque in Madina Kaolack, Senegal. Shaykh Hassan brought the tariqa to the United States in 1976. He is also the founder and chairman of the African American Islamic Institute, Inc., a tax-exempt, international humanitarian organization. He holds degrees in Islamic Studies and Arabic Literature from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and a Master of Philosophy from the University of London. His pursuit of a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was interrupted when his father, Sayyidi Ali Cisse, passed away, and he was recalled to Senegal to assume his leadership of the Tariqa.

The Tijaniyya movement is quite widespread in West Africa, and the United States membership of the Tariqa Tijaniyya consists largely of immigrants from West Africa, though it also includes a number of African Americans. Centers are found in many of the major urban centers from New York to California. There is a large center in Chicago which meets at the Nigerian Mosque.

Membership: Not reported.

Sources:

Nasr, Jamil M. Abun. The Tijaniyya. London: Oxford, 1964.

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